May 9, 2016
Football fans celebrating the miraculous crowning of Leicester City as Premier League champions should have raised at least one glass to…. the European Court of Justice.
Or at least that’s what Belgian former footballer Jean-Marc Bosman thinks.
Back in 1990, Bosman’s contract at Liège expired and he looked to pastures new, in the form of French club Dunkerque.
But due to a dispute over the transfer fee the deal fell through and Bosman found himself left to rot in the reserves, which cost him a pretty penny.
The midfield hotshot decided to take his case to the ECJ, which eventually ruled at the end of 1995 that the transfer system impinged on the free movement of workers.
EU footballers were now allowed a free transfer at the end of their contract, providing that they moved from one EU-based football league to another.
Now, Bosman has claimed that Leicester’s stunning victory is a consequence of the ruling and that “unheralded clubs” will benefit even more because of it.
Speaking to the Times of Malta, he criticised how FIFA and UEFA have “accumulated money at the top” and emphasised how the “Bosman ruling” freed people and created more of a level playing field.
He went on to claim that without his legal challenge 20 years ago, Claudio Ranieri, Leicester’s affable Italian manager, would’ve struggled to build his current team.
The Foxes swept to Premier League victory with two games left to play, dominated the awards scene and are now set to rub shoulders with Europe’s biggest teams, such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus in next year’s Champions League.
In fact, Leicester’s squad was assembled for roughly €54 million, about the same price Manchester City paid for Bosman’s compatriot Kevin De Bruyne.
Six of the 20 strong first team squad moved to Leicester on a Bosman.
Leicester’s stadium reverberated to the dulcet tones of Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli during the triumphant celebration at the East-Midland club.
Sadly but due to the mighty success of its now star players, it may be “Time to Say Goodbye” to some of those whose price tags have increased exponentially.
Photo credit: @LCFCHeard in Europe