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Although the European Court of Justice ruled in Bosman (1995) that professional sportsmen and sportswomen are free at the end of their contracts, they are still at the mercy of the clubs that employ them. Such pretexts as the ""special nature"" of sport publicly urged by such European eminences as Tony Blair and Gerhard Schroder have institutionalized the human trafficking of players, depriving them of basic rights guaranteed under all the laws enjoyed by Europeans. They may be well-paid as long as they are in the limelight, but they have no surety. They can be, and are, bought and sold repeatedly, each time returning profits to those who trade in their athletic prowess.
In this searing indictment, Professor Blanpain underscores the demonstrable illegality of the current transfer system imposed by the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA). He describes in detail the complex ramifications of FIFA's rules in the lives of players, clearly revealing how the fundamental rights of players to free movement and freedom of labour are systematically denied. He calls for the courts, from the European Court of Justice on down, to recognize this illegality and act to enforce the Bosman judgement.
Professor Blanpain examines all the crucial legal issues involved. These include the following: the classification of sportsmen and sportswomen as ""workers""; the nature of the contract between player and club; the legal capacity of minors to enter into an employment contract; the trade in foreign (frequently African and South American) players with no legal rights in Europe; disciplinary rules; training compensation fees; placement and status of players' agents; dispute resolution; and conflicts with competition law.
An extensive array of documents, including the FIFA Transfer Regulations and material leading to the March 2001 agreement between FIFA and the European Commission, is included in a series of annexes.