Issuu on Google+

On The Ball Our regular football-focused legal round-up

About our Editor Daniel Geey is a solicitor at Field Fisher Waterhouse. Daniel advises entities wishing to invest in the football industry, specifically in relation to the fit and proper person test, conflicts of interest, multiple club ownership, the Financial Fair Play Rules and third party player ownership. Daniel also advises clients in relation to UK and European wide football broadcasting issues. He writes regularly for various journals and is the Editor of On The Ball.

On The Ball Our regular football-focused legal round-up

Daniel Geey Solicitor t: + 44 (0)20 7861 4335 e: daniel.geey@ffw.com

Welcome to On The Ball. In this issue, we gaze again into the complex world of football and the law. We delve into subjects such as the Premier League broadcasting deal, Financial Fair Play and the Football Creditors Rule.

Contacts

On the Ball is produced in conjunction with Football Aid, a sports charity organisation, which enables football supporters to ‘Live the Dream’ and bid online at Footballaid.com to play on the hallowed turf of their cherished team. On the Ball aims to give the reader a good understanding of the core legal issues in the football industry. Patrick Cannon Corporate and Head of the Sports Group t. +44 (0)20 7861 4290 e. patrick.cannon@ffw.com

Matthew Lohn Regulatory t. +44 (0)20 7861 4950 e. matthew.lohn@ffw.com

Christine Phillips Corporate & Finance t. +44 (0)20 7861 4287 e. christine.phillips@ffw.com

I hope you find the newsletter both useful and interesting. If you have any questions or comments you can contact me at my email below. Daniel Geey, Solicitor and Editor daniel.geey@ffw.com

Contents 2. The 2013/14 Domestic Premier League Broadcasting Deal 3. Current UEFA Issues: FFP, TV Distribution & Third Party Ownership This publication is not a substitute for detailed advice on specific transactions and should not be taken as providing legal advice on any of the topics discussed. © Copyright Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP 2010. All rights reserved. Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC318472, which is regulated by the Law Society. A list of members and their professional qualifications is available for inspection at its registered office, 35 Vine Street London EC3N 2AA. We use the word “partner” to refer to a member of Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP, or an employee or consultant with equivalent standing and qualifications.

5. Financial Fair Play and Third Party Ownership: Updated UEFA Licensing Regulations 7. Should EURO 2012 be Broadcast Free of Charge to all European Citizens? 9. UEFA and ECA Renew their Memorandum of

20

Understanding

11. Sky Win Pay-TV Appeal: The Ramifications for Football Viewers 13. The Football Creditors’ Rule: Here to Stay? 16. UEFA Sanctions Clubs for Debt and Financial Fair Play: Update 19. About Field Fisher Waterhouse and Football Aid


On The Ball Our regular football-focused legal round-up

The 2013/14 Domestic Premier League Broadcasting Deal Summary

impact on its subscriber base will only come this time next year. The opportunity cost of not winning the PL rights may be more aggressive spending on other higher end sports rights. 3.

The Premier League (PL) announced in June 2012 that Sky and BT had won the latest domestic live PL broadcasting tender, providing the PL with a record £3bn in revenue. It has been reported that such a figure is a 71% increase on the previous deal with Sky and ESPN. The average overall price per match paid by the broadcasters has risen from £4.7m to £6.6m. Sky secured five of the seven packages on offer (116 matches per season from the 2013-14 season for three seasons) after paying £2.3bn. After bidding £738m, BT won two packages worth 38 games per season for three years from the 2013-14 season.

Comments 1.

2.

2

BT have been active for some time in trying to source PL rights. Previously, it had been part of a number of broadcasters battling with Sky in the Ofcom investigation into the wholesaling of live PL matches. Initially, BT were aiming to get Sky Sports 1 and 2, both of which show live PL matches, onto it’s BT Vision platform. In a number of ways, BT’s entry into the tender process was a natural extension of its need to get top premium content on its platforms. BT will hope that acquiring two packages will act as its own ‘battering ram’ to further its own crossmedia, bundled internet offering.

4.

Its fair to say the £1+bn increase on the domestic deal was an astonishing increase. The last domestic tender produced relatively flat growth which may have led analysts to believe modest growth would be achievable for the current tender. Ultimately, the degree of competition for the packages was significantly more fierce than in the previous tender with two substantial broadcasters ramping up the price. It would be as surprising as the current deal if the next tender produces such astronomical growth. Many would argue that ESPN was very much the junior partner to Sky. With Sky having five of the six packages as well as assisting ESPN with its channel sales, it’s less likely both companies would be classed as a duopoly. Rather, Sky has been the established broadcasting incumbent of the PL. Other successful broadcasters have to date not managed to successfully win a subsequent PL tender.

Have a listen to my latest podcast on the wider implications and consequences for the PL, its clubs, broadcasters and subscribers here.

About Field Fisher Waterhouse and Football Aid Field Fisher Waterhouse and Football Aid have established a close working relationship over the past few years. Field Fisher Waterhouse’s emphasis on corporate social responsibility and its ongoing commitment to work in the charity sector is matched with its strong and growing presence in the legal sports market. This makes Football Aid an ideal partner for Field Fisher Waterhouse to advise it on all its regulatory, licensing, technology and website issues to help Football Aid expand throughout Europe and maximise its revenues for its charitable causes.

About our Regulatory Group Our Regulatory Group combines public and regulatory, competition & EU, public procurement and regulated industries expertise. We specialise in supporting a wide range of commercial organisations on regulatory matters and advise many of the regulators and relevant public bodies themselves.

About our Sports Group

Clients instruct us to audit their regulatory frameworks against best practice and advise on issues including the powers and duties of public bodies and officials, consultation processes and influencing decision-making, the implementation of new statutory and non-statutory schemes, the requirements of fairness and natural justice, human rights and legal challenges.

Our Sports Group has established itself as one of the leading providers of legal advice to the sports industry. The Group acts for sports bodies and regulators, marketing agencies, sponsors, sports brand owners, broadcasters and professional clubs.

Our lawyers are closely allied to our public sector, commercial and privacy & information law teams, working with them on a daily basis to achieve the best overall business result.

Our expertise in sports sector ranges from advising on regulatory and disciplinary issues to advice on TV and media rights, sponsorship and sports marketing, the acquisition and funding of sports business, brand protection, betting and gaming, merchandising, ticketing, endorsement, litigation and stadia development.

By Daniel Geey

ESPN will no doubt be thoroughly disappointed to miss out to BT. Like Setanta previously, ESPN had built its cross-platform channel on its PL offering. It still has the rights for one more season and will have contingency plans in place. They still possess the live FA Cup rights as well as a raft of live European football and US sports rights. Unlike Setanta, they are backed, to a degree, with the deep pockets of Disney and so may take a longer term view on building on a range of different sporting rights. The effective measure of whether losing the PL rights has had a major Please note that where this publication contains links to pages/items on third party websites, while such information may be available to be viewed and downloaded, this is subject always to the terms and conditions applicable to the particular website(s). Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP is not responsible for the content or operation of third party websites.

19


On The Ball Our regular football-focused legal round-up

Current UEFA Issues: FFP, TV Distribution & Third Party Ownership Introduction Over the last summer, a number of inter-related football regulatory issues have arisen. Some of these major talking points will have significance for how European clubs and national associations continue to engage with UEFA.

UEFA Champions League Broadcast Revenue Growth It was reported by Matt Scott in a recent Telegraph article that the winners of next season’s UEFA Champions League could earn over €100m. That figure is over double the amount that Chelsea will have earned from winning this season’s competition (says the Liverpool fan through gritted teeth!). The interesting point to bear in mind is the substantive advantage participation in the coming season’s Champions League will have on compliance with the UEFA Financial Fair Play Rules (FFPR). For an explanation of the FFPRs, click here. By way of background, UEFA has implemented, as part of its already functioning club licensing system, the FFPRs to ensure a club in the longer term, has to break even. UEFA’s overall aim for the FFPRs is for its affiliated football clubs to balance their books, not spend more than they earn and promote investment in their stadia, training facility infrastructure and youth development. The increased TV revenues from next season, primarily from Champions League participation, may form part of the reason why many clubs have remained bullish in their planning for continued UEFA competition participation. The best explanation of the distribution of UEFA revenues is provided by the Swiss Ramble post here. But needless to say, the additional revenues from the new UEFA broadcasting deals will appreciably assist with break-even compliance for a number of clubs.

18

Images supplied by Matt Nuttall Photography

Clubs in certain UEFA territories will also have the added benefit of having larger TV market pools. As the Swiss Ramble states,

“the total amount available in the pool depends on the size/ value of a country’s TV market, so the amount allocated to teams in England is more than that given to, say, Spain, as English television generates more revenue.” Increased TV revenues available for English clubs may go some way to equalise the individual television sales advantage that Barcelona and Real Madrid currently have, for example, over the more equitable English collective TV deal approach. The Spanish and English TV deals demonstrate national disparities that can lead to revenue benefits for certain clubs (like for the top two in Spain) for FFPR breakeven compliance. Another example of national revenue disparities, which has caused the PL and Ligue 1 authorities to lobby UEFA, relates to the growing practice of individuals or companies owning the economic transfer interests of players. This notion of third party ownership (TPO) continues to polarise debate.

The Financial Fair Play/Third Party Ownership Angle I wrote a piece with Argentinean sports lawyer Ariel Reck about the FFPR accounting issues of TPO. Very briefly the article stated that PL (and Ligue 1) clubs wanting to participate in UEFA competitions were at a real disadvantage because clubs who do not play in the PL and Ligue 1 were able to take advantage of alternative third party finance arrangements to purchase players. This may have the effect of reducing transfer costs for non-PL/Ligue 1 clubs, thus making it easier for them to break-even under FFPR.

3


By way of background, PL, Football League and FA rules prohibit TPO of players. It means that a buying club for any player whose registration is not 100% owned by the selling club must purchase the economic interest in that player prior to registration with a club playing in the PL or FL. Therefore clubs cannot share the burden with an investor in only purchasing 50% of a player’s economic rights. It is likely that non-PL/Ligue 1 clubs will have a competitive advantage over PL/Ligue 1 clubs wishing to participate in UEFA competition. This is because their transfer expenditure may be reduced as they can share their outlay with companies willing to contribute to the transfer fee. The basic point is that PL/Ligue 1 clubs will have to account for the whole of the transfer fee paid when submitting their accounts to UEFA. Non-PL/Ligue 1 clubs will presumably only have to account for the amount spent in taking, for example, a 50% stake in a player.

A Working Example Player A is available for transfer for €20 million. PL club Arsenal agrees to pay €20 million for the player but in order to register him, the club must ensure that all third party economic rights are extinguished prior to registration. The club will therefore have a €20 million liability. Porto, if buying the same player, does not have to ensure that any third party rights are extinguished. Porto may even agree to pay the club for its stake in the player, e.g. €10 million with a third party company retaining their stake in a player. There may also be additional options for the buying club to buy further stakes from the third party owner at designated times for set amounts. Porto’s liability would initially be half the amount that Arsenal would be paying for the same player.

Next Steps In a relatively far reaching recent development UEFA stated it may not permit registration for players who participate in the Champions League and Europa League if such player transfer rights are owned by third party investors.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino has said UEFA “will certainly look into” the possibility of banning third party-owned players from UEFA competitions. He stated that, “this kind of player ownership is a growing threat”. Such a decision would be controversial especially for a number of clubs like Porto whose use of such third party finance is well known. In fact, in their latest published accounts Porto only owned 100% of the total economic transfer rights to five members of their 27 man squad. Some clubs would have trouble fielding a team. More importantly it would mean UEFA having to oblige each club to reveal any players whose registrations were not totally owned by the club. This could even be expanded to include a list of the owners of such transfer rights. Such transparency could allow the football family to scrutinise any potential conflicts of interest between those who own the economic rights of a player and those who also own a stake in a football club. If such a TPO prohibition for UEFA competition was to be enacted, another question for UEFA to consider would be whether the provision would have retrospective effect. If so, many clubs would effectively have to ‘buyback’ the registrations of players who they wanted to play in UEFA competition. Many would argue that would be unreasonable for contracts entered into prior to any proposed rule change. If the proposed rule did not have retrospective effect, clubs who had TPO players would still have the benefit of being able to play them in UEFA competition but would not be able to register new players. Such uneven regulation would be far from ideal.

Conclusion As can be seen, there are a number of interesting and significant issues surrounding FFP compliance and TPO. Whilst FFP compliance will be an ongoing debate well into the first monitoring period (2013-14), the next few months may well determine UEFA’s TPO path which is bound to anger at least one of the two opposing TPO camps.

By Daniel Geey

competition, reducing a club's permitted squad size, disqualification from competitions in progress and/or exclusion from future competitions. Everyone that I have spoken to at UEFA is consistent in insisting the CFCB will sanction clubs who breach the FFP rules. UEFA’s general secretary, Gianni Infantino, has stated:

“We would bar clubs in breach of the rules from playing in the Champions League or the Europa League. Otherwise, we lose all credibility.”[1] Sanctions as explained above, will take many forms. It should be stressed that it is far from certain that a club that breaches the FFP regulations will be automatically excluded. Although the above are all possible sanctions, it appears likely from the outset (from the 2013-14 season) that a raft of sanctions will be imposed and not just the harshest sanctions for breaching the rules. This is unless, presumably, there is a blatant flouting of the rules (i.e. someone posting a loss similar to Chelsea’s £140m loss in the 2004/5 season). High profile club sanctions should not be ruled out, but exclusion will certainly be saved for only the most blatant offenders.

UEFA's Press Release Only recently, UEFA announced that it was to withhold prize money for clubs who had qualified for UEFA competition but who had 'overdue payables' due. It is important to stress that such sanctions are not about breaching the break-even criteria.[2] The withholding of prize monies by UEFA is for breaching the overdue payables provisions of the UEFA licensing regime (i.e. outstanding debts not paid at a particular time to other clubs, employees and social/tax authorities). The overdue payables provisions are part of the wider club licensing and FFP rules that are currently in force. Nonetheless, big clubs have been sanctioned like Atlético Madrid, Málaga, Sporting, Rubin Kazan,

4

Partizan and Fenerbahçe. Many may suggest that this is a show of strength by UEFA - i.e. that it means business by imposing such sanctions. In addition, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the last few months has more or less upheld sanctions imposed by UEFA on Besiktas (a two year suspended exclusion and a fine), Bursaspor (a one year suspended exclusion and a fine) and Gyori (exclusion for two seasons with the third season suspended and a fine) for breaching the FFP overdue payables rules. The difference is that no exclusions have taken place for breach of the breakeven part of the FFP rules yet, because the first monitoring period has not kicked in. At a time when some believed that the licensing regulations were merely window dressing, UEFA is showing that its regulations bite. UEFA has the power to sanction clubs and is sending out a strong message that certain overdue debts will not be tolerated. By comparison, when the break-even requirement comes into force (in 13-14), similar - if not harsher - sanctions may well be applied.

Conclusion As you can see, FFP is in force and UEFA is not afraid to sanction clubs accordingly. The most important question however is not whether UEFA will sanction clubs, but what the sanction will be. Clubs that breach the rules by small margins will be less likely to be expelled from UEFA competition. The proportionality or reasonableness of the sanction will then have to be weighted against the severity of the breach. Although that may not sit too well with some, it is likely to be the way that the sanctions will be applied.

By Daniel Geey

———————————————— [1]

See www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/aug/26/michelplatini-champions-league [2]

See www.uefa.com/uefa/footballfirst/ protectingthegame/financialfairplay/news/ newsid=1857626.html

17


UEFA Sanctions Clubs for Debt and Financial Fair Play: Update UEFA recently withheld prize money from a number of clubs who had qualified for UEFA competitions, but had overdue debts. Daniel Geey, an Associate with Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP, explains how these sanctions fit in with UEFA’s Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations.





Introduction Financial Fair Play (FFP) is entering into mainstream football conversation. At conferences, in newspapers and even in pubs, everyone wants to know the same thing (and has a slight bias depending on their club allegiances); namely will it work? To answer that question, UEFA's recent press release when it announced it was to temporarily withhold prize money from teams that had overdue debts due (termed over due payables) goes some way to answering some important questions. Before such analysis is undertaken, here is a skeleton overview of the FFP rules.





16

The FFP break-even rules will start to bite from the 2013-14 season. The rules need to be borne in mind however from the 2011-12 season onwards, because the 2011-12 and 2012-13 season accounts are used to determine a club’s licence application in the 2013-14 season; Acceptable deviation is the term used to describe break-even. Acceptable deviation allows clubs to pass the FFP rule break-even test without actually breaking even. The acceptable deviation provisions allow a club with some losses over a certain number of seasons to ‘break even’ and therefore pass the FFP regulations.

Recent Developments

At its heart is the break-even criteria. Each club that believes it can qualify for next season’s European competitions must, prior to the beginning of that season, apply for a UEFA Club Licence. From the 2013-14 season, the licence stipulations will include adherence to the FFP break-even rules. Until the 2013-14 season, there are no sanctions for breaching the FFP breakeven rules;

FFP is already in action and has allowed UEFA to sanction a number of clubs. As mentioned briefly above, the initial step is for all clubs wanting to play in UEFA competition to submit the required licensing documentation to their national football association (FA). The FA then makes the licensing decision which is then communicated to UEFA. UEFA, through its newly constituted Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) has the power to conduct club audits and ask further questions to ensure that the national FA approval/rejection system is applied correctly. If the Panel believes that the FFP rules have not been correctly applied, it has the disciplinary power to sanction clubs in breach. Bear in mind that FFP applies not only to ensure that clubs break-even, but it covers a wide range of licensing conditions, including requirements to ensure clubs pay their debts in a timely manner.

The FFP rules promote investment in a club's stadium, training facility infrastructure and youth development schemes by excluding such costs from the break-even calculation;

UEFA's CFCB has the power to sanction clubs for breaches of the FFP rules. Such sanctions include a reprimand, a fine, withholding of prize monies, points deductions, refusal to register players for UEFA

Brief Background 



UEFA FFP relates only to Champions League and Europa League participation, and not to domestic league participation. It should however be borne in mind that the Football League (FL) has just implemented its own version of FFP for the Championship and the Premier League (PL) is currently discussing various cost saving measures;

As part of its already functioning club licensing system, the break-even part of the FFP rules are to ensure a club, more or less, has to balance its books;

Financial Fair Play and Third Party Ownership: Updated UEFA Licensing Regulations Introduction UEFA has modified a number of its licensing criteria in relation to third party ownership (TPO) issues. The new regulations were published recently and are available to read here. By way of a quick recap, the Financial Fair Play Rules (FFPRs) form part of the wider UEFA licensing regime. It should be borne in mind that the new FFPRs relate only to participation in the Champions League and Europa League, and not to domestic leagues. Each club that believes it can qualify for that season’s European competitions must, prior to the beginning of that season, apply for a UEFA club licence. From the 2013-14 season, the licence stipulations will include adherence to the FFPRs. Until the 2013-14 season there are no sanctions for breaching the FFPRs. The FFPRs will therefore start to bite from the 2013-14 season. The rules need to be borne in mind, however, from the 2011-12 season onwards because the 2011-12 and 2012-13 accounts will be used to determine a club’s license application in the 2013-14 season.

The UEFA Licensing Criteria Changes There are two specific changes to the 2012 UEFA licensing requirements: 

Annex VI(E)(m)(ii) now includes a disclosure requirement in respect of TPO; and



Annex VII (C)(5)(b) now includes a minimum accounting requirement in respect of a disposal of rights to a TPO.

Annex VI(E)(m)(ii) It states:

“Players’ economic rights (or similar) For any player for whom the economic rights or similar are not fully owned by the licence applicant, the name of the player and the percentage of economic rights or similar held by the licence applicant at the beginning of the period (or on acquisition of the registration) and at the end of the period must be disclosed.” Annex VII (C)(5)(b) It states:

“Any profit in respect of a player for whom the licence applicant retains the registration must not be recognised in the profit and loss account. For the avoidance of doubt, any profit arising from the disposal of economic rights or similar of a player to any other party must be deferred, and a profit can only be recognised in the profit and loss account following the permanent transfer of a player’s registration to another club.”

5


Comment Previously, myself and Argentinian lawyer, Ariel Reck, assessed that PL (and Ligue 1) clubs wanting to participate in UEFA competitions were at a real disadvantage, because clubs who do not play in the PL and Ligue 1 were able to take advantage of alternative third party finance arrangements to purchase players. This may have the effect of reducing transfer costs for non-PL/Ligue 1 clubs, thus making it easier for them to break-even under FFPR. Interestingly Annex VII, (C)(5)(b) appears to rule out a club selling part of a current players’ economic rights for a fee and using that as additional revenue to breakeven. Such revenues can only be accounted for once the full and permanent transfer of the player has occurred. It appears that the only TPO avenue available is when buying a player. That is because there is nothing in the latest set of licensing provisions which states a third party owner cannot purchase, for example, 99% of the economic rights of a player with the club contributing 1%. This would lead to that club only having to account for the 1% worth of expenditure in their FFPR submission.

remains that the football creditor rule is unfair to all other unsecured creditors who are forced to make do with much smaller returns - if anything - on monies owed to them by football clubs which enter administration." Whilst many including HMRC believe the current FCR arrangements are inherently unfair, the FL's FCR has stood up to an HMRC challenge. Ultimately it remains to be seen whether there is an appetite for Government intervention and whether that may include legislation. The full judgment text is available here http:// www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2012/1372.html and an excellent, in-depth piece on this judgment is available here http://www.lawinsport.com/articles/editors-choice/ item/why-the-football-creditors-rule-is-here-to-stay.

By Daniel Geey and Tom Gibby

Whether certain clubs have previously relied upon the regulations, as drafted in 2010, as the basis for breaking even remains an interesting scenario. As the first accounting period (2011-12) that will be taken into account for FFPR compliance for the 2013-14 season has just finished, a club who has heavily relied upon TPO to help fund player transfers may argue that for the 2011-12 season, any revenue posted that falls within the Annex VII, (C)(5)(b) prohibition should not be discounted.

By Daniel Geey

6

15


league as a whole. If multiple clubs then fall into financial difficulty because of clubs defaulting on transfer payments and other obligations, the integrity of the FL competition could be under threat if numerous clubs were not able to fulfil their fixture obligations.

The FL Defence The FL disputed HMRC's contention that their regulations breached either the pari passu and antideprivation rules. They argued that a FL club is not entitled to any commercial or broadcasting money unless it completes its entire fixture list. If a club ceases to be a FL member prior to the season finishing (because it goes into administration), the club is not deprived of those monies as they would not yet be the property of the club.

The Full Time Whistle A crucial fact that that the Court set out was that a club does not have an entitlement to receive payments from the FL (the Pool account) until it fulfils its fixtures (even if interim payments before the end of the season are made). The Court therefore concluded that if there was no asset (i.e. FL pool account revenues) that the club was entitled to at the date of administration or liquidation, both the anti-deprivation and the pari passu principles could not apply because:



the club had not been deprived of an asset (antideprivation rule); and



there was no asset to distribute at the time (pari passu principle).

Specifically the Court stated that:

“If an individual member club has no legal entitlement to payments from the Pool Account until it has completed its fixture obligations for the relevant season, it is not deprived of an asset if, as a result of 14

going into administration or liquidation, it cannot or is not permitted to complete the season. Likewise, if sums from the Pool Account which would have been paid to a club if it completed the season are paid instead to football creditors following an administration or liquidation occurring before the end of the season and preventing the club from completing its fixtures, there is no asset of the club to which the pari passu principle can be applied.”

Should EURO 2012 be Broadcast Free of Charge to all European Citizens? Introduction and Executive Summary With the European Championship (EUROs) having taken place over the summer months, I thought it may be topical to briefly discuss some of the ongoing broadcasting rights issues associated with the EUROs and the World Cup. Last year UEFA and FIFA failed in an action challenging the ‘listing’ of the EUROs and World Cup as events of national importance. UEFA contended that they could not effectively maximise their broadcasting revenues for the World Cup and EUROs because they were constrained as to the broadcasters to whom they could sell the broadcasts.

The Post-Match Fallout There was obvious delight on the part of the FL in effectively having its rules upheld. Its spokesman stated

"The judgment confirms that The Football League's rules and insolvency policy do not breach the principles of existing insolvency law. We recognise that some regard the application of these rules as being imperfect. However, they remain an essential part of football's approach to handling insolvent clubs within the wider context of competitive league football." HMRC were probably as despondent as a Spurs player without his Champions League bonus for the coming season despite finishing fourth.

"We are naturally disappointed with today's judgment. Our view

In three separate cases, UEFA and FIFA brought actions before the European courts relating to the way its broadcasting rights can be marketed in Belgium and the UK. In particular, the UK listed every match in the EUROs as being of national significance. That practically meant that only terrestrial broadcasters could bid to screen the EUROs. UEFA challenged this decision.

Cup and European Championships. Crucially, the UK list reserves every World Cup and EURO match collectively as broadcasts of major cultural importance to the UK. The protected events lists are then submitted to the Commission. The Commission then decides whether the listing of events in question complies with EU law.

The Challenge UEFA challenged the Commission’s decision to approve the UK’s listing of the entire EUROs, arguing, amongst other things, that it shielded terrestrial broadcasters from effective pay-TV competition. This was apparently to the detriment and exclusion of pay-TV channel operators. UEFA as a result could not maximise their revenues.

The Decision The court decided that the EUROs and World Cup could be listed in their entirety. Specifically, the court stated the following: 1.

All EURO and World Cup games could be listed by the UK government even if the game did not involve a home nations team. This begs the question as to how many UK viewers would deem a EUROs match between Ukraine v France as of cultural significance to the UK? However, if in the EUROs Ukraine v France was the determining fixture to decide whether England goes through to the knock-out stages of the competition, there would certainly be an argument for that game being of cultural significance. The context of the game therefore becomes very important and something that could not be easily catered for before a tournament began.

2.

The entitlement of a UK citizen to watch the complete tournament unravelling on a free-to-air, non-pay TV broadcast channel, is viewed by many as an inherent right. The expectation of not having to pay to watch live football, which UK viewers have traditionally watched for free, does hold some merit when one considers that the hugely popular Premier League and Champions League competitions are not protected under the UK list at all.

What is apparent throughout the three decisions is the inherent tension between a government’s duty to safeguard certain sporting and cultural events and the need for a robust and competitive market in the sale of live sports rights.

Brief Legal Background The EU’s Audio Visual Media Services Directive, provides the legal basis for Member States to compile lists of cultural events that are of major importance to its citizens. It should be noted that there is no obligation on Member States to introduce listed events legislation. From previous research conducted last year, only Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the UK had a list system in place. The only constant in each of the submitted Member State lists are the World

7


3.

A reduction in broadcaster competition would not destroy the value of the rights. If the rights holder decides to sell them on an exclusive basis then it understands such an exclusive arrangement can only be entered into with a relevant terrestrial broadcaster.

Conclusion UEFA and FIFA have announced that they will appeal the European Court’s decision to the highest European Court. It remains to be seen whether they will be successful in bringing such an action. Either way, it brings into focus the play-off between live premium football remaining on terrestrial television against a rights holder’s ability to extract maximum return to reinvest back into their sport.

The Football Creditors’ Rule: Here to Stay? Introduction When a football club is in administration, the typical headline grabbing question is whether millionaire footballers should be paid their wages in full whilst a St John's Ambulance may only get pennies for a debt they are owed? Although framed in a rather blunt manner, clubs, football authorities, fans and in particular HMRC have all had their say on the controversial football creditors’ rule (‘the FCR’). The below article examines (with the fewest Latin phrases possible) what the rule is, why some deem it unfair and the latest court battle involving HMRC and the football authorities.

Insolvency 101 I doubt there will be too many citizens complaining about having live premium football matches on terrestrial television this summer. Football fans should be happy. Rights holders less so.

By Daniel Geey

Insolvency is essentially where a company is deemed unable to pay its debts. When a company becomes insolvent an administrator or liquidator is appointed to manage its affairs. UK insolvency law ranks the company's creditors accordingly. The FCR essentially re-orders such established priorities in favour of the football family. It thus gives preference to players and clubs over the tax man. When a Football League (‘the FL’) club in England experiences ‘an insolvency event’, the FCR provides that football related debts, i.e. those owed to ‘Football Creditors’ (e.g. FL, players, and transfer fees owed to other clubs) are prioritised ahead of other debts, i.e. trade creditors, suppliers and HMRC. The FCR sets out that such debts must be paid off in full or clubs can face severe sanctions imposed by the FL, such as points deductions or league exclusion. The FCR was implemented not by Parliament but by the FL. HMRC does not believe football clubs should be treated differently to any other UK business that has to observe the priority order applied in insolvency law. Ultimately, HMRC believes that whenever the FCR is applied the public purse is disadvantaged to the benefit of footballers and other football clubs. Indeed, the recent government response to the Select Committee Report into Football Governance stated that it had

8

“sympathy for those who described the consequences of the rule as ‘morally indefensible’. The beginning of Justice Richard's judgment in the present case sets out the stark reality of what administration means to those creditors outside of the football family. Whilst football creditors were paid in full during the recent Crystal Palace and Plymouth Argyle administrations, other creditors received 2p and 0.77p in the pound respectively. Justice Norris in the 2010 Portsmouth FC case stated that he understood the

"disquiet from the creditors, who [may] wonder why they should subsidise the club’s wage bill and only get back pence in the pound for the services they have provided." All out Attack – The HMRC Position This case brought to light two long standing insolvency law principles: ‘pari passu’ distribution and ‘antideprivation’. The first states that all assets belonging to the insolvent company must be distributed to its creditors in a manner proportionate to what is owed. The second voids any attempts to reduce assets belonging to an insolvent company to the detriment of any creditor. HMRC submitted that FL Rules contradicted these two principles. HMRC also contend that the FL’s rules were a deliberate attempt to give football creditors preferential treatment above those creditors of the same class under insolvency law.

A Case for the FCR: Stability, Community and Supporter Interest Those that defend the FCR point to the fact that clubs operating within FL are inter-related businesses with debts due to each other. If one creditor, particularly HMRC, successfully challenges the FCR, then one club not paying its transfer debt to another club may lead to knock-on effects which may be to the detriment of the

13


rights at source in the latest auction may have also been to ensure they did not have to rely on Sky to show live PL matches. It means regardless of an agreement with Sky over Sky Sports 1 and 2 on its platform, BT Vision will have a number of games from the 2013-14 season to screen to its subscribers.

3.

If commercial negotiations fail between BT Vision and Sky, it may start a PL broadcasting war, with BT potentially refusing to sell its PL channel (from 2013) on the Sky platform. This could leave both Sky and BT customers without a full set of PL matches to watch on their own platform.

UEFA and ECA Renew their Memorandum of Understanding Set out below is a brief summary of the salient points from the UEFA and ECA agreement. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, president of the ECA, said the agreement consolidates an improved balance between national and club football, and recognises the significant contribution of clubs to the success of national team football. Michael Platini, president of UEFA, credited the agreement with strengthening the European football family. The agreement centres around three objectives:

4.

There is little doubt that this is a crushing blow for the regulator Ofcom after over 3 years of investigations and consultations into the provision of live PL matches. Although further Ofcom action cannot be ruled out against Sky, they will have to go back to the drawing board.

By Daniel Geey

 



It was noted that recognition of FIFA as the worldwide governing body of football would be dependent on FIFA concluding an agreement with both Parties similar to the Memorandum between ECA and UEFA.

promoting unity;

safeguarding the evolution of European football; and

ensuring clubs are fully represented in decisionmaking processes.

With a view to enabling these objectives, the ECA and UEFA agreed joint and individual undertakings.

Promoting Unity A unified relationship between ECA and UEFA was emphasised although references to FIFA indicate that the Parties aim to foster unity with the worldwide governing bodies. Their relationship hinges on mutual recognition of authority; the ECA as the sole representative of European club football and UEFA as governing body of European football. The ECA undertook to be democratic, transparent and open to all UEFA member clubs. It agreed to communicate with UEFA regarding any proposed amendments to ECA statutes in order to avoid any conflict with UEFA regulations, and also to invite UEFA to its General Assembly in an observing capacity. UEFA will similarly invite the ECA to UEFA's Congress.

12

ECA agreed to prevent its members participating in competitions not organised by UEFA/FIFA or joining associations that have members from more than one country. It will also prevent clubs from any involvement in legal proceedings against UEFA, particularly in relation to player release. More generally, the ECA undertook to abide by UEFA regulations and recognise the Court of Arbitration for Sport as the only body that should rule on sports disputes. To help enable this unification, UEFA agreed to support the ECA administratively and logistically.

Safeguarding Evolution of the European Game In terms of safeguarding the evolution of European football, the International Match Calendar agreement was particularly important. The Memorandum agrees a reduction in the number of international matches per 2 year period from 12 to 9 'double headers' (9 day periods on national team duty including a maximum 2 matches). The August friendly date is to be removed as are single friendlies. International tournaments will conclude midJuly at the latest. The release of players for matches outside the International Match Calendar will be noncompulsory. UEFA will target the African Football Confederation in the hope of scheduling the African Cup of Nations as early as possible in January for the benefit of clubs and players. The International Match Calendar is subject to FIFA approval. UEFA has various goals in this respect, including persuading FIFA to amend its regulations so that all national teams are required to play the two matches of any 'double header' on the territory of the same confederation, and coordinate with FIFA so that players would be released to national team duty for a maximum of one final tournament per year. EURO Clubs will receive €100m from the UEFA EURO 2012 revenues - almost twice as much as the €55m distributed after Euro 2008. This amount will further increase to €150m for EURO 2016.

9


UEFA will establish insurance to cover injury risk of players when released to national teams. This insurance is valid for all players registered with a European club, irrespective of their nationality, and for all matches in the International Calendar. UEFA will also support a 'Medical Protocol' to enable effective communication between national and club doctors concerning players.

Club Representation The Memorandum enables club involvement in UEFA decisions. The Club Competitions Committee, formed essentially of Club representatives, have a 'referral right' to review and comment on all decisions affecting the format or regulation of UEFA club competitions. No permanent alterations can be adopted unless both Parties are in agreement. The ECA will take a significant role in the Professional Football Strategy Council by appointing the four club representatives. ECA members will also be invited to make representations to UEFA on club matters and to attend those meetings relating to clubs.

By Daniel Geey

Sky Win Pay-TV Appeal: The Ramifications for Football Viewers Summary An Ofcom decision requiring Sky to sell its Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels to its competitors at a regulated price has been recently overturned giving Sky an important victory against its pay-TV rivals.

Background For some time Ofcom has been investigating into the way that Premier League (PL) football is distributed to consumers in the UK. Its main concerns were that Sky (as a wholesaler and retailer of PL football through its Sky Sports channels) could have had an interest in limiting the distribution of premium content, and that it could set its prices at a level as to make selling its Sky Sports channels uneconomical for its competitors like Virgin and BT Vision. In December 2007, Ofcom launched an investigation into the pay TV market in the UK. Ofcom had competition concerns about the way premium content is distributed by Sky. It issued a number of consultations and, in March 2010, published a Decision imposing an obligation for Sky to sell its Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels to its platform competitors (Virgin, BT Vision and Top Up TV) at a regulated price.

channels were only available on Sky. (Note: Sky Sports channels have been available on Virgin for a number of years but Virgin had argued at a price which made selling them unprofitable).

Ofcom Decision The Ofcom decision in March 2010 required Sky to offer at a wholesale level its Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels at a price determined by Ofcom. This would have provided a mechanism for other platform providers to gain access to Sky Sports 1 and 2 on fair and reasonable terms. The decision would have meant the wholesale price Sky charged for Sky Sports 1 and 2 to platforms such as Virgin Media or BT, would have been reduced by around 10%.

So What has Happened Now? Sky appealed the Ofcom Decision on a number of grounds including the fact that Ofcom’s evidence that it used to show that Sky did not constructively negotiate in good faith with other platforms for the provision of Sky Sports 1 and 2 was flawed. The Competition Appeal Tribunal (the CAT), where the appeal was heard, ultimately accepted that Ofcom misinterpreted the evidence of the negotiations and as a result, Ofcom’s conclusions were inconsistent with the evidence. As such, the CAT decided for this, and other reasons, Ofcom’s Decision should be overturned. The judgment is available here.

The Significance of the Decision Ofcom’s main concerns were that: 1.

Sky had an interest in limiting distribution of premium content, possibly as a result of a ‘desire to limit the growth of potential competitors’; and

2.

Sky could, in theory, set their wholesale prices at a level above the competitive framework making it uneconomical for other broadcast retailers to compete with Sky.

Both these outcomes were beneficial to Sky as it would mean that subscribers, for example, to BT Vision, would not be able to subscribe to Sky Sports because such

10

1.

As Sky does NOT have to provide Sky Sports 1 and 2 to platforms like BT through an Ofcom regulated price, Sky are free to charge what they believe is appropriate to other platforms like BT Vision to show its Sky Sports channels. Platforms like BT Vision and Top-TV (possibly along with Virgin) will have to individually negotiate a price with Sky for Sky Sports 1 and 2. Presumably, if Sky does not like the offer their competitors propose, they can refuse to supply the channels.

2.

BT Vision has somewhat safeguarded its position through winning two packages in the latest PL auction process. BT’s desire to win the latest PL

11


UEFA will establish insurance to cover injury risk of players when released to national teams. This insurance is valid for all players registered with a European club, irrespective of their nationality, and for all matches in the International Calendar. UEFA will also support a 'Medical Protocol' to enable effective communication between national and club doctors concerning players.

Club Representation The Memorandum enables club involvement in UEFA decisions. The Club Competitions Committee, formed essentially of Club representatives, have a 'referral right' to review and comment on all decisions affecting the format or regulation of UEFA club competitions. No permanent alterations can be adopted unless both Parties are in agreement. The ECA will take a significant role in the Professional Football Strategy Council by appointing the four club representatives. ECA members will also be invited to make representations to UEFA on club matters and to attend those meetings relating to clubs.

By Daniel Geey

Sky Win Pay-TV Appeal: The Ramifications for Football Viewers Summary An Ofcom decision requiring Sky to sell its Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels to its competitors at a regulated price has been recently overturned giving Sky an important victory against its pay-TV rivals.

Background For some time Ofcom has been investigating into the way that Premier League (PL) football is distributed to consumers in the UK. Its main concerns were that Sky (as a wholesaler and retailer of PL football through its Sky Sports channels) could have had an interest in limiting the distribution of premium content, and that it could set its prices at a level as to make selling its Sky Sports channels uneconomical for its competitors like Virgin and BT Vision. In December 2007, Ofcom launched an investigation into the pay TV market in the UK. Ofcom had competition concerns about the way premium content is distributed by Sky. It issued a number of consultations and, in March 2010, published a Decision imposing an obligation for Sky to sell its Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels to its platform competitors (Virgin, BT Vision and Top Up TV) at a regulated price.

channels were only available on Sky. (Note: Sky Sports channels have been available on Virgin for a number of years but Virgin had argued at a price which made selling them unprofitable).

Ofcom Decision The Ofcom decision in March 2010 required Sky to offer at a wholesale level its Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels at a price determined by Ofcom. This would have provided a mechanism for other platform providers to gain access to Sky Sports 1 and 2 on fair and reasonable terms. The decision would have meant the wholesale price Sky charged for Sky Sports 1 and 2 to platforms such as Virgin Media or BT, would have been reduced by around 10%.

So What has Happened Now? Sky appealed the Ofcom Decision on a number of grounds including the fact that Ofcom’s evidence that it used to show that Sky did not constructively negotiate in good faith with other platforms for the provision of Sky Sports 1 and 2 was flawed. The Competition Appeal Tribunal (the CAT), where the appeal was heard, ultimately accepted that Ofcom misinterpreted the evidence of the negotiations and as a result, Ofcom’s conclusions were inconsistent with the evidence. As such, the CAT decided for this, and other reasons, Ofcom’s Decision should be overturned. The judgment is available here.

The Significance of the Decision Ofcom’s main concerns were that: 1.

Sky had an interest in limiting distribution of premium content, possibly as a result of a ‘desire to limit the growth of potential competitors’; and

2.

Sky could, in theory, set their wholesale prices at a level above the competitive framework making it uneconomical for other broadcast retailers to compete with Sky.

Both these outcomes were beneficial to Sky as it would mean that subscribers, for example, to BT Vision, would not be able to subscribe to Sky Sports because such

10

1.

As Sky does NOT have to provide Sky Sports 1 and 2 to platforms like BT through an Ofcom regulated price, Sky are free to charge what they believe is appropriate to other platforms like BT Vision to show its Sky Sports channels. Platforms like BT Vision and Top-TV (possibly along with Virgin) will have to individually negotiate a price with Sky for Sky Sports 1 and 2. Presumably, if Sky does not like the offer their competitors propose, they can refuse to supply the channels.

2.

BT Vision has somewhat safeguarded its position through winning two packages in the latest PL auction process. BT’s desire to win the latest PL

11


rights at source in the latest auction may have also been to ensure they did not have to rely on Sky to show live PL matches. It means regardless of an agreement with Sky over Sky Sports 1 and 2 on its platform, BT Vision will have a number of games from the 2013-14 season to screen to its subscribers.

3.

If commercial negotiations fail between BT Vision and Sky, it may start a PL broadcasting war, with BT potentially refusing to sell its PL channel (from 2013) on the Sky platform. This could leave both Sky and BT customers without a full set of PL matches to watch on their own platform.

UEFA and ECA Renew their Memorandum of Understanding Set out below is a brief summary of the salient points from the UEFA and ECA agreement. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, president of the ECA, said the agreement consolidates an improved balance between national and club football, and recognises the significant contribution of clubs to the success of national team football. Michael Platini, president of UEFA, credited the agreement with strengthening the European football family. The agreement centres around three objectives:

4.

There is little doubt that this is a crushing blow for the regulator Ofcom after over 3 years of investigations and consultations into the provision of live PL matches. Although further Ofcom action cannot be ruled out against Sky, they will have to go back to the drawing board.

By Daniel Geey

 



It was noted that recognition of FIFA as the worldwide governing body of football would be dependent on FIFA concluding an agreement with both Parties similar to the Memorandum between ECA and UEFA.

promoting unity;

safeguarding the evolution of European football; and

ensuring clubs are fully represented in decisionmaking processes.

With a view to enabling these objectives, the ECA and UEFA agreed joint and individual undertakings.

Promoting Unity A unified relationship between ECA and UEFA was emphasised although references to FIFA indicate that the Parties aim to foster unity with the worldwide governing bodies. Their relationship hinges on mutual recognition of authority; the ECA as the sole representative of European club football and UEFA as governing body of European football. The ECA undertook to be democratic, transparent and open to all UEFA member clubs. It agreed to communicate with UEFA regarding any proposed amendments to ECA statutes in order to avoid any conflict with UEFA regulations, and also to invite UEFA to its General Assembly in an observing capacity. UEFA will similarly invite the ECA to UEFA's Congress.

12

ECA agreed to prevent its members participating in competitions not organised by UEFA/FIFA or joining associations that have members from more than one country. It will also prevent clubs from any involvement in legal proceedings against UEFA, particularly in relation to player release. More generally, the ECA undertook to abide by UEFA regulations and recognise the Court of Arbitration for Sport as the only body that should rule on sports disputes. To help enable this unification, UEFA agreed to support the ECA administratively and logistically.

Safeguarding Evolution of the European Game In terms of safeguarding the evolution of European football, the International Match Calendar agreement was particularly important. The Memorandum agrees a reduction in the number of international matches per 2 year period from 12 to 9 'double headers' (9 day periods on national team duty including a maximum 2 matches). The August friendly date is to be removed as are single friendlies. International tournaments will conclude midJuly at the latest. The release of players for matches outside the International Match Calendar will be noncompulsory. UEFA will target the African Football Confederation in the hope of scheduling the African Cup of Nations as early as possible in January for the benefit of clubs and players. The International Match Calendar is subject to FIFA approval. UEFA has various goals in this respect, including persuading FIFA to amend its regulations so that all national teams are required to play the two matches of any 'double header' on the territory of the same confederation, and coordinate with FIFA so that players would be released to national team duty for a maximum of one final tournament per year. EURO Clubs will receive €100m from the UEFA EURO 2012 revenues - almost twice as much as the €55m distributed after Euro 2008. This amount will further increase to €150m for EURO 2016.

9


3.

A reduction in broadcaster competition would not destroy the value of the rights. If the rights holder decides to sell them on an exclusive basis then it understands such an exclusive arrangement can only be entered into with a relevant terrestrial broadcaster.

Conclusion UEFA and FIFA have announced that they will appeal the European Court’s decision to the highest European Court. It remains to be seen whether they will be successful in bringing such an action. Either way, it brings into focus the play-off between live premium football remaining on terrestrial television against a rights holder’s ability to extract maximum return to reinvest back into their sport.

The Football Creditors’ Rule: Here to Stay? Introduction When a football club is in administration, the typical headline grabbing question is whether millionaire footballers should be paid their wages in full whilst a St John's Ambulance may only get pennies for a debt they are owed? Although framed in a rather blunt manner, clubs, football authorities, fans and in particular HMRC have all had their say on the controversial football creditors’ rule (‘the FCR’). The below article examines (with the fewest Latin phrases possible) what the rule is, why some deem it unfair and the latest court battle involving HMRC and the football authorities.

Insolvency 101 I doubt there will be too many citizens complaining about having live premium football matches on terrestrial television this summer. Football fans should be happy. Rights holders less so.

By Daniel Geey

Insolvency is essentially where a company is deemed unable to pay its debts. When a company becomes insolvent an administrator or liquidator is appointed to manage its affairs. UK insolvency law ranks the company's creditors accordingly. The FCR essentially re-orders such established priorities in favour of the football family. It thus gives preference to players and clubs over the tax man. When a Football League (‘the FL’) club in England experiences ‘an insolvency event’, the FCR provides that football related debts, i.e. those owed to ‘Football Creditors’ (e.g. FL, players, and transfer fees owed to other clubs) are prioritised ahead of other debts, i.e. trade creditors, suppliers and HMRC. The FCR sets out that such debts must be paid off in full or clubs can face severe sanctions imposed by the FL, such as points deductions or league exclusion. The FCR was implemented not by Parliament but by the FL. HMRC does not believe football clubs should be treated differently to any other UK business that has to observe the priority order applied in insolvency law. Ultimately, HMRC believes that whenever the FCR is applied the public purse is disadvantaged to the benefit of footballers and other football clubs. Indeed, the recent government response to the Select Committee Report into Football Governance stated that it had

8

“sympathy for those who described the consequences of the rule as ‘morally indefensible’. The beginning of Justice Richard's judgment in the present case sets out the stark reality of what administration means to those creditors outside of the football family. Whilst football creditors were paid in full during the recent Crystal Palace and Plymouth Argyle administrations, other creditors received 2p and 0.77p in the pound respectively. Justice Norris in the 2010 Portsmouth FC case stated that he understood the

"disquiet from the creditors, who [may] wonder why they should subsidise the club’s wage bill and only get back pence in the pound for the services they have provided." All out Attack – The HMRC Position This case brought to light two long standing insolvency law principles: ‘pari passu’ distribution and ‘antideprivation’. The first states that all assets belonging to the insolvent company must be distributed to its creditors in a manner proportionate to what is owed. The second voids any attempts to reduce assets belonging to an insolvent company to the detriment of any creditor. HMRC submitted that FL Rules contradicted these two principles. HMRC also contend that the FL’s rules were a deliberate attempt to give football creditors preferential treatment above those creditors of the same class under insolvency law.

A Case for the FCR: Stability, Community and Supporter Interest Those that defend the FCR point to the fact that clubs operating within FL are inter-related businesses with debts due to each other. If one creditor, particularly HMRC, successfully challenges the FCR, then one club not paying its transfer debt to another club may lead to knock-on effects which may be to the detriment of the

13


league as a whole. If multiple clubs then fall into financial difficulty because of clubs defaulting on transfer payments and other obligations, the integrity of the FL competition could be under threat if numerous clubs were not able to fulfil their fixture obligations.

The FL Defence The FL disputed HMRC's contention that their regulations breached either the pari passu and antideprivation rules. They argued that a FL club is not entitled to any commercial or broadcasting money unless it completes its entire fixture list. If a club ceases to be a FL member prior to the season finishing (because it goes into administration), the club is not deprived of those monies as they would not yet be the property of the club.

The Full Time Whistle A crucial fact that that the Court set out was that a club does not have an entitlement to receive payments from the FL (the Pool account) until it fulfils its fixtures (even if interim payments before the end of the season are made). The Court therefore concluded that if there was no asset (i.e. FL pool account revenues) that the club was entitled to at the date of administration or liquidation, both the anti-deprivation and the pari passu principles could not apply because:



the club had not been deprived of an asset (antideprivation rule); and



there was no asset to distribute at the time (pari passu principle).

Specifically the Court stated that:

“If an individual member club has no legal entitlement to payments from the Pool Account until it has completed its fixture obligations for the relevant season, it is not deprived of an asset if, as a result of 14

going into administration or liquidation, it cannot or is not permitted to complete the season. Likewise, if sums from the Pool Account which would have been paid to a club if it completed the season are paid instead to football creditors following an administration or liquidation occurring before the end of the season and preventing the club from completing its fixtures, there is no asset of the club to which the pari passu principle can be applied.”

Should EURO 2012 be Broadcast Free of Charge to all European Citizens? Introduction and Executive Summary With the European Championship (EUROs) having taken place over the summer months, I thought it may be topical to briefly discuss some of the ongoing broadcasting rights issues associated with the EUROs and the World Cup. Last year UEFA and FIFA failed in an action challenging the ‘listing’ of the EUROs and World Cup as events of national importance. UEFA contended that they could not effectively maximise their broadcasting revenues for the World Cup and EUROs because they were constrained as to the broadcasters to whom they could sell the broadcasts.

The Post-Match Fallout There was obvious delight on the part of the FL in effectively having its rules upheld. Its spokesman stated

"The judgment confirms that The Football League's rules and insolvency policy do not breach the principles of existing insolvency law. We recognise that some regard the application of these rules as being imperfect. However, they remain an essential part of football's approach to handling insolvent clubs within the wider context of competitive league football." HMRC were probably as despondent as a Spurs player without his Champions League bonus for the coming season despite finishing fourth.

"We are naturally disappointed with today's judgment. Our view

In three separate cases, UEFA and FIFA brought actions before the European courts relating to the way its broadcasting rights can be marketed in Belgium and the UK. In particular, the UK listed every match in the EUROs as being of national significance. That practically meant that only terrestrial broadcasters could bid to screen the EUROs. UEFA challenged this decision.

Cup and European Championships. Crucially, the UK list reserves every World Cup and EURO match collectively as broadcasts of major cultural importance to the UK. The protected events lists are then submitted to the Commission. The Commission then decides whether the listing of events in question complies with EU law.

The Challenge UEFA challenged the Commission’s decision to approve the UK’s listing of the entire EUROs, arguing, amongst other things, that it shielded terrestrial broadcasters from effective pay-TV competition. This was apparently to the detriment and exclusion of pay-TV channel operators. UEFA as a result could not maximise their revenues.

The Decision The court decided that the EUROs and World Cup could be listed in their entirety. Specifically, the court stated the following: 1.

All EURO and World Cup games could be listed by the UK government even if the game did not involve a home nations team. This begs the question as to how many UK viewers would deem a EUROs match between Ukraine v France as of cultural significance to the UK? However, if in the EUROs Ukraine v France was the determining fixture to decide whether England goes through to the knock-out stages of the competition, there would certainly be an argument for that game being of cultural significance. The context of the game therefore becomes very important and something that could not be easily catered for before a tournament began.

2.

The entitlement of a UK citizen to watch the complete tournament unravelling on a free-to-air, non-pay TV broadcast channel, is viewed by many as an inherent right. The expectation of not having to pay to watch live football, which UK viewers have traditionally watched for free, does hold some merit when one considers that the hugely popular Premier League and Champions League competitions are not protected under the UK list at all.

What is apparent throughout the three decisions is the inherent tension between a government’s duty to safeguard certain sporting and cultural events and the need for a robust and competitive market in the sale of live sports rights.

Brief Legal Background The EU’s Audio Visual Media Services Directive, provides the legal basis for Member States to compile lists of cultural events that are of major importance to its citizens. It should be noted that there is no obligation on Member States to introduce listed events legislation. From previous research conducted last year, only Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the UK had a list system in place. The only constant in each of the submitted Member State lists are the World

7


Comment Previously, myself and Argentinian lawyer, Ariel Reck, assessed that PL (and Ligue 1) clubs wanting to participate in UEFA competitions were at a real disadvantage, because clubs who do not play in the PL and Ligue 1 were able to take advantage of alternative third party finance arrangements to purchase players. This may have the effect of reducing transfer costs for non-PL/Ligue 1 clubs, thus making it easier for them to break-even under FFPR. Interestingly Annex VII, (C)(5)(b) appears to rule out a club selling part of a current players’ economic rights for a fee and using that as additional revenue to breakeven. Such revenues can only be accounted for once the full and permanent transfer of the player has occurred. It appears that the only TPO avenue available is when buying a player. That is because there is nothing in the latest set of licensing provisions which states a third party owner cannot purchase, for example, 99% of the economic rights of a player with the club contributing 1%. This would lead to that club only having to account for the 1% worth of expenditure in their FFPR submission.

remains that the football creditor rule is unfair to all other unsecured creditors who are forced to make do with much smaller returns - if anything - on monies owed to them by football clubs which enter administration." Whilst many including HMRC believe the current FCR arrangements are inherently unfair, the FL's FCR has stood up to an HMRC challenge. Ultimately it remains to be seen whether there is an appetite for Government intervention and whether that may include legislation. The full judgment text is available here http:// www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2012/1372.html and an excellent, in-depth piece on this judgment is available here http://www.lawinsport.com/articles/editors-choice/ item/why-the-football-creditors-rule-is-here-to-stay.

By Daniel Geey and Tom Gibby

Whether certain clubs have previously relied upon the regulations, as drafted in 2010, as the basis for breaking even remains an interesting scenario. As the first accounting period (2011-12) that will be taken into account for FFPR compliance for the 2013-14 season has just finished, a club who has heavily relied upon TPO to help fund player transfers may argue that for the 2011-12 season, any revenue posted that falls within the Annex VII, (C)(5)(b) prohibition should not be discounted.

By Daniel Geey

6

15


UEFA Sanctions Clubs for Debt and Financial Fair Play: Update UEFA recently withheld prize money from a number of clubs who had qualified for UEFA competitions, but had overdue debts. Daniel Geey, an Associate with Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP, explains how these sanctions fit in with UEFA’s Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations.





Introduction Financial Fair Play (FFP) is entering into mainstream football conversation. At conferences, in newspapers and even in pubs, everyone wants to know the same thing (and has a slight bias depending on their club allegiances); namely will it work? To answer that question, UEFA's recent press release when it announced it was to temporarily withhold prize money from teams that had overdue debts due (termed over due payables) goes some way to answering some important questions. Before such analysis is undertaken, here is a skeleton overview of the FFP rules.





16

The FFP break-even rules will start to bite from the 2013-14 season. The rules need to be borne in mind however from the 2011-12 season onwards, because the 2011-12 and 2012-13 season accounts are used to determine a club’s licence application in the 2013-14 season; Acceptable deviation is the term used to describe break-even. Acceptable deviation allows clubs to pass the FFP rule break-even test without actually breaking even. The acceptable deviation provisions allow a club with some losses over a certain number of seasons to ‘break even’ and therefore pass the FFP regulations.

Recent Developments

At its heart is the break-even criteria. Each club that believes it can qualify for next season’s European competitions must, prior to the beginning of that season, apply for a UEFA Club Licence. From the 2013-14 season, the licence stipulations will include adherence to the FFP break-even rules. Until the 2013-14 season, there are no sanctions for breaching the FFP breakeven rules;

FFP is already in action and has allowed UEFA to sanction a number of clubs. As mentioned briefly above, the initial step is for all clubs wanting to play in UEFA competition to submit the required licensing documentation to their national football association (FA). The FA then makes the licensing decision which is then communicated to UEFA. UEFA, through its newly constituted Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) has the power to conduct club audits and ask further questions to ensure that the national FA approval/rejection system is applied correctly. If the Panel believes that the FFP rules have not been correctly applied, it has the disciplinary power to sanction clubs in breach. Bear in mind that FFP applies not only to ensure that clubs break-even, but it covers a wide range of licensing conditions, including requirements to ensure clubs pay their debts in a timely manner.

The FFP rules promote investment in a club's stadium, training facility infrastructure and youth development schemes by excluding such costs from the break-even calculation;

UEFA's CFCB has the power to sanction clubs for breaches of the FFP rules. Such sanctions include a reprimand, a fine, withholding of prize monies, points deductions, refusal to register players for UEFA

Brief Background 



UEFA FFP relates only to Champions League and Europa League participation, and not to domestic league participation. It should however be borne in mind that the Football League (FL) has just implemented its own version of FFP for the Championship and the Premier League (PL) is currently discussing various cost saving measures;

As part of its already functioning club licensing system, the break-even part of the FFP rules are to ensure a club, more or less, has to balance its books;

Financial Fair Play and Third Party Ownership: Updated UEFA Licensing Regulations Introduction UEFA has modified a number of its licensing criteria in relation to third party ownership (TPO) issues. The new regulations were published recently and are available to read here. By way of a quick recap, the Financial Fair Play Rules (FFPRs) form part of the wider UEFA licensing regime. It should be borne in mind that the new FFPRs relate only to participation in the Champions League and Europa League, and not to domestic leagues. Each club that believes it can qualify for that season’s European competitions must, prior to the beginning of that season, apply for a UEFA club licence. From the 2013-14 season, the licence stipulations will include adherence to the FFPRs. Until the 2013-14 season there are no sanctions for breaching the FFPRs. The FFPRs will therefore start to bite from the 2013-14 season. The rules need to be borne in mind, however, from the 2011-12 season onwards because the 2011-12 and 2012-13 accounts will be used to determine a club’s license application in the 2013-14 season.

The UEFA Licensing Criteria Changes There are two specific changes to the 2012 UEFA licensing requirements: 

Annex VI(E)(m)(ii) now includes a disclosure requirement in respect of TPO; and



Annex VII (C)(5)(b) now includes a minimum accounting requirement in respect of a disposal of rights to a TPO.

Annex VI(E)(m)(ii) It states:

“Players’ economic rights (or similar) For any player for whom the economic rights or similar are not fully owned by the licence applicant, the name of the player and the percentage of economic rights or similar held by the licence applicant at the beginning of the period (or on acquisition of the registration) and at the end of the period must be disclosed.” Annex VII (C)(5)(b) It states:

“Any profit in respect of a player for whom the licence applicant retains the registration must not be recognised in the profit and loss account. For the avoidance of doubt, any profit arising from the disposal of economic rights or similar of a player to any other party must be deferred, and a profit can only be recognised in the profit and loss account following the permanent transfer of a player’s registration to another club.”

5


By way of background, PL, Football League and FA rules prohibit TPO of players. It means that a buying club for any player whose registration is not 100% owned by the selling club must purchase the economic interest in that player prior to registration with a club playing in the PL or FL. Therefore clubs cannot share the burden with an investor in only purchasing 50% of a player’s economic rights. It is likely that non-PL/Ligue 1 clubs will have a competitive advantage over PL/Ligue 1 clubs wishing to participate in UEFA competition. This is because their transfer expenditure may be reduced as they can share their outlay with companies willing to contribute to the transfer fee. The basic point is that PL/Ligue 1 clubs will have to account for the whole of the transfer fee paid when submitting their accounts to UEFA. Non-PL/Ligue 1 clubs will presumably only have to account for the amount spent in taking, for example, a 50% stake in a player.

A Working Example Player A is available for transfer for €20 million. PL club Arsenal agrees to pay €20 million for the player but in order to register him, the club must ensure that all third party economic rights are extinguished prior to registration. The club will therefore have a €20 million liability. Porto, if buying the same player, does not have to ensure that any third party rights are extinguished. Porto may even agree to pay the club for its stake in the player, e.g. €10 million with a third party company retaining their stake in a player. There may also be additional options for the buying club to buy further stakes from the third party owner at designated times for set amounts. Porto’s liability would initially be half the amount that Arsenal would be paying for the same player.

Next Steps In a relatively far reaching recent development UEFA stated it may not permit registration for players who participate in the Champions League and Europa League if such player transfer rights are owned by third party investors.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino has said UEFA “will certainly look into” the possibility of banning third party-owned players from UEFA competitions. He stated that, “this kind of player ownership is a growing threat”. Such a decision would be controversial especially for a number of clubs like Porto whose use of such third party finance is well known. In fact, in their latest published accounts Porto only owned 100% of the total economic transfer rights to five members of their 27 man squad. Some clubs would have trouble fielding a team. More importantly it would mean UEFA having to oblige each club to reveal any players whose registrations were not totally owned by the club. This could even be expanded to include a list of the owners of such transfer rights. Such transparency could allow the football family to scrutinise any potential conflicts of interest between those who own the economic rights of a player and those who also own a stake in a football club. If such a TPO prohibition for UEFA competition was to be enacted, another question for UEFA to consider would be whether the provision would have retrospective effect. If so, many clubs would effectively have to ‘buyback’ the registrations of players who they wanted to play in UEFA competition. Many would argue that would be unreasonable for contracts entered into prior to any proposed rule change. If the proposed rule did not have retrospective effect, clubs who had TPO players would still have the benefit of being able to play them in UEFA competition but would not be able to register new players. Such uneven regulation would be far from ideal.

Conclusion As can be seen, there are a number of interesting and significant issues surrounding FFP compliance and TPO. Whilst FFP compliance will be an ongoing debate well into the first monitoring period (2013-14), the next few months may well determine UEFA’s TPO path which is bound to anger at least one of the two opposing TPO camps.

By Daniel Geey

competition, reducing a club's permitted squad size, disqualification from competitions in progress and/or exclusion from future competitions. Everyone that I have spoken to at UEFA is consistent in insisting the CFCB will sanction clubs who breach the FFP rules. UEFA’s general secretary, Gianni Infantino, has stated:

“We would bar clubs in breach of the rules from playing in the Champions League or the Europa League. Otherwise, we lose all credibility.”[1] Sanctions as explained above, will take many forms. It should be stressed that it is far from certain that a club that breaches the FFP regulations will be automatically excluded. Although the above are all possible sanctions, it appears likely from the outset (from the 2013-14 season) that a raft of sanctions will be imposed and not just the harshest sanctions for breaching the rules. This is unless, presumably, there is a blatant flouting of the rules (i.e. someone posting a loss similar to Chelsea’s £140m loss in the 2004/5 season). High profile club sanctions should not be ruled out, but exclusion will certainly be saved for only the most blatant offenders.

UEFA's Press Release Only recently, UEFA announced that it was to withhold prize money for clubs who had qualified for UEFA competition but who had 'overdue payables' due. It is important to stress that such sanctions are not about breaching the break-even criteria.[2] The withholding of prize monies by UEFA is for breaching the overdue payables provisions of the UEFA licensing regime (i.e. outstanding debts not paid at a particular time to other clubs, employees and social/tax authorities). The overdue payables provisions are part of the wider club licensing and FFP rules that are currently in force. Nonetheless, big clubs have been sanctioned like Atlético Madrid, Málaga, Sporting, Rubin Kazan,

4

Partizan and Fenerbahçe. Many may suggest that this is a show of strength by UEFA - i.e. that it means business by imposing such sanctions. In addition, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the last few months has more or less upheld sanctions imposed by UEFA on Besiktas (a two year suspended exclusion and a fine), Bursaspor (a one year suspended exclusion and a fine) and Gyori (exclusion for two seasons with the third season suspended and a fine) for breaching the FFP overdue payables rules. The difference is that no exclusions have taken place for breach of the breakeven part of the FFP rules yet, because the first monitoring period has not kicked in. At a time when some believed that the licensing regulations were merely window dressing, UEFA is showing that its regulations bite. UEFA has the power to sanction clubs and is sending out a strong message that certain overdue debts will not be tolerated. By comparison, when the break-even requirement comes into force (in 13-14), similar - if not harsher - sanctions may well be applied.

Conclusion As you can see, FFP is in force and UEFA is not afraid to sanction clubs accordingly. The most important question however is not whether UEFA will sanction clubs, but what the sanction will be. Clubs that breach the rules by small margins will be less likely to be expelled from UEFA competition. The proportionality or reasonableness of the sanction will then have to be weighted against the severity of the breach. Although that may not sit too well with some, it is likely to be the way that the sanctions will be applied.

By Daniel Geey

———————————————— [1]

See www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/aug/26/michelplatini-champions-league [2]

See www.uefa.com/uefa/footballfirst/ protectingthegame/financialfairplay/news/ newsid=1857626.html

17


On The Ball Our regular football-focused legal round-up

Current UEFA Issues: FFP, TV Distribution & Third Party Ownership Introduction Over the last summer, a number of inter-related football regulatory issues have arisen. Some of these major talking points will have significance for how European clubs and national associations continue to engage with UEFA.

UEFA Champions League Broadcast Revenue Growth It was reported by Matt Scott in a recent Telegraph article that the winners of next season’s UEFA Champions League could earn over €100m. That figure is over double the amount that Chelsea will have earned from winning this season’s competition (says the Liverpool fan through gritted teeth!). The interesting point to bear in mind is the substantive advantage participation in the coming season’s Champions League will have on compliance with the UEFA Financial Fair Play Rules (FFPR). For an explanation of the FFPRs, click here. By way of background, UEFA has implemented, as part of its already functioning club licensing system, the FFPRs to ensure a club in the longer term, has to break even. UEFA’s overall aim for the FFPRs is for its affiliated football clubs to balance their books, not spend more than they earn and promote investment in their stadia, training facility infrastructure and youth development. The increased TV revenues from next season, primarily from Champions League participation, may form part of the reason why many clubs have remained bullish in their planning for continued UEFA competition participation. The best explanation of the distribution of UEFA revenues is provided by the Swiss Ramble post here. But needless to say, the additional revenues from the new UEFA broadcasting deals will appreciably assist with break-even compliance for a number of clubs.

18

Images supplied by Matt Nuttall Photography

Clubs in certain UEFA territories will also have the added benefit of having larger TV market pools. As the Swiss Ramble states,

“the total amount available in the pool depends on the size/ value of a country’s TV market, so the amount allocated to teams in England is more than that given to, say, Spain, as English television generates more revenue.” Increased TV revenues available for English clubs may go some way to equalise the individual television sales advantage that Barcelona and Real Madrid currently have, for example, over the more equitable English collective TV deal approach. The Spanish and English TV deals demonstrate national disparities that can lead to revenue benefits for certain clubs (like for the top two in Spain) for FFPR breakeven compliance. Another example of national revenue disparities, which has caused the PL and Ligue 1 authorities to lobby UEFA, relates to the growing practice of individuals or companies owning the economic transfer interests of players. This notion of third party ownership (TPO) continues to polarise debate.

The Financial Fair Play/Third Party Ownership Angle I wrote a piece with Argentinean sports lawyer Ariel Reck about the FFPR accounting issues of TPO. Very briefly the article stated that PL (and Ligue 1) clubs wanting to participate in UEFA competitions were at a real disadvantage because clubs who do not play in the PL and Ligue 1 were able to take advantage of alternative third party finance arrangements to purchase players. This may have the effect of reducing transfer costs for non-PL/Ligue 1 clubs, thus making it easier for them to break-even under FFPR.

3


On The Ball Our regular football-focused legal round-up

The 2013/14 Domestic Premier League Broadcasting Deal Summary

impact on its subscriber base will only come this time next year. The opportunity cost of not winning the PL rights may be more aggressive spending on other higher end sports rights. 3.

The Premier League (PL) announced in June 2012 that Sky and BT had won the latest domestic live PL broadcasting tender, providing the PL with a record £3bn in revenue. It has been reported that such a figure is a 71% increase on the previous deal with Sky and ESPN. The average overall price per match paid by the broadcasters has risen from £4.7m to £6.6m. Sky secured five of the seven packages on offer (116 matches per season from the 2013-14 season for three seasons) after paying £2.3bn. After bidding £738m, BT won two packages worth 38 games per season for three years from the 2013-14 season.

Comments 1.

2.

2

BT have been active for some time in trying to source PL rights. Previously, it had been part of a number of broadcasters battling with Sky in the Ofcom investigation into the wholesaling of live PL matches. Initially, BT were aiming to get Sky Sports 1 and 2, both of which show live PL matches, onto it’s BT Vision platform. In a number of ways, BT’s entry into the tender process was a natural extension of its need to get top premium content on its platforms. BT will hope that acquiring two packages will act as its own ‘battering ram’ to further its own crossmedia, bundled internet offering.

4.

Its fair to say the £1+bn increase on the domestic deal was an astonishing increase. The last domestic tender produced relatively flat growth which may have led analysts to believe modest growth would be achievable for the current tender. Ultimately, the degree of competition for the packages was significantly more fierce than in the previous tender with two substantial broadcasters ramping up the price. It would be as surprising as the current deal if the next tender produces such astronomical growth. Many would argue that ESPN was very much the junior partner to Sky. With Sky having five of the six packages as well as assisting ESPN with its channel sales, it’s less likely both companies would be classed as a duopoly. Rather, Sky has been the established broadcasting incumbent of the PL. Other successful broadcasters have to date not managed to successfully win a subsequent PL tender.

Have a listen to my latest podcast on the wider implications and consequences for the PL, its clubs, broadcasters and subscribers here.

About Field Fisher Waterhouse and Football Aid Field Fisher Waterhouse and Football Aid have established a close working relationship over the past few years. Field Fisher Waterhouse’s emphasis on corporate social responsibility and its ongoing commitment to work in the charity sector is matched with its strong and growing presence in the legal sports market. This makes Football Aid an ideal partner for Field Fisher Waterhouse to advise it on all its regulatory, licensing, technology and website issues to help Football Aid expand throughout Europe and maximise its revenues for its charitable causes.

About our Regulatory Group Our Regulatory Group combines public and regulatory, competition & EU, public procurement and regulated industries expertise. We specialise in supporting a wide range of commercial organisations on regulatory matters and advise many of the regulators and relevant public bodies themselves.

About our Sports Group

Clients instruct us to audit their regulatory frameworks against best practice and advise on issues including the powers and duties of public bodies and officials, consultation processes and influencing decision-making, the implementation of new statutory and non-statutory schemes, the requirements of fairness and natural justice, human rights and legal challenges.

Our Sports Group has established itself as one of the leading providers of legal advice to the sports industry. The Group acts for sports bodies and regulators, marketing agencies, sponsors, sports brand owners, broadcasters and professional clubs.

Our lawyers are closely allied to our public sector, commercial and privacy & information law teams, working with them on a daily basis to achieve the best overall business result.

Our expertise in sports sector ranges from advising on regulatory and disciplinary issues to advice on TV and media rights, sponsorship and sports marketing, the acquisition and funding of sports business, brand protection, betting and gaming, merchandising, ticketing, endorsement, litigation and stadia development.

By Daniel Geey

ESPN will no doubt be thoroughly disappointed to miss out to BT. Like Setanta previously, ESPN had built its cross-platform channel on its PL offering. It still has the rights for one more season and will have contingency plans in place. They still possess the live FA Cup rights as well as a raft of live European football and US sports rights. Unlike Setanta, they are backed, to a degree, with the deep pockets of Disney and so may take a longer term view on building on a range of different sporting rights. The effective measure of whether losing the PL rights has had a major Please note that where this publication contains links to pages/items on third party websites, while such information may be available to be viewed and downloaded, this is subject always to the terms and conditions applicable to the particular website(s). Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP is not responsible for the content or operation of third party websites.

19


On The Ball Our regular football-focused legal round-up

About our Editor Daniel Geey is a solicitor at Field Fisher Waterhouse. Daniel advises entities wishing to invest in the football industry, specifically in relation to the fit and proper person test, conflicts of interest, multiple club ownership, the Financial Fair Play Rules and third party player ownership. Daniel also advises clients in relation to UK and European wide football broadcasting issues. He writes regularly for various journals and is the Editor of On The Ball.

On The Ball Our regular football-focused legal round-up

Daniel Geey Solicitor t: + 44 (0)20 7861 4335 e: daniel.geey@ffw.com

Welcome to On The Ball. In this issue, we gaze again into the complex world of football and the law. We delve into subjects such as the Premier League broadcasting deal, Financial Fair Play and the Football Creditors Rule.

Contacts

On the Ball is produced in conjunction with Football Aid, a sports charity organisation, which enables football supporters to ‘Live the Dream’ and bid online at Footballaid.com to play on the hallowed turf of their cherished team. On the Ball aims to give the reader a good understanding of the core legal issues in the football industry. Patrick Cannon Corporate and Head of the Sports Group t. +44 (0)20 7861 4290 e. patrick.cannon@ffw.com

Matthew Lohn Regulatory t. +44 (0)20 7861 4950 e. matthew.lohn@ffw.com

Christine Phillips Corporate & Finance t. +44 (0)20 7861 4287 e. christine.phillips@ffw.com

I hope you find the newsletter both useful and interesting. If you have any questions or comments you can contact me at my email below. Daniel Geey, Solicitor and Editor daniel.geey@ffw.com

Contents 2. The 2013/14 Domestic Premier League Broadcasting Deal 3. Current UEFA Issues: FFP, TV Distribution & Third Party Ownership This publication is not a substitute for detailed advice on specific transactions and should not be taken as providing legal advice on any of the topics discussed. © Copyright Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP 2010. All rights reserved. Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC318472, which is regulated by the Law Society. A list of members and their professional qualifications is available for inspection at its registered office, 35 Vine Street London EC3N 2AA. We use the word “partner” to refer to a member of Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP, or an employee or consultant with equivalent standing and qualifications.

5. Financial Fair Play and Third Party Ownership: Updated UEFA Licensing Regulations 7. Should EURO 2012 be Broadcast Free of Charge to all European Citizens? 9. UEFA and ECA Renew their Memorandum of

20

Understanding

11. Sky Win Pay-TV Appeal: The Ramifications for Football Viewers 13. The Football Creditors’ Rule: Here to Stay? 16. UEFA Sanctions Clubs for Debt and Financial Fair Play: Update 19. About Field Fisher Waterhouse and Football Aid


Test