25 years of the Bosman Law, the previous great revolution

Jean-Marc Bosman, former player who caused the change in the football landscape in 1995.

The new and groundbreaking scenario posed by the Super League is a revolution in the world of football, a measure that shakes both the ruling classes and the established norms. “If an agreement is reached between these clubs and with presidents such as Florentino, Agnelli … It will not be possible to return to what was before,” agrees Angelo Cascella, an expert sports lawyer who worked for a decade as a referee for the Lausanne TAS. “Football is in the hands of a few and now it will be even more so. It invites us to think about social classes and it is possible to see one football and then another … much less attractive ”, explains Albert Valentín, who was in the technical secretariat of Espanyol, Barça and Marseille, and is now the sports director of the Academia del Qatari Al-Ryyan. “But this revolution will eventually be good because it is about evolving,” adds a former sports director of one of the great clubs in Europe who prefers to remain anonymous. It happens, however, that it is not the first football revolution because in December 1995, just over 25 years ago, the Bosman Law was passed.

It all started at the beginning of the 90s, when the footballer Jean-Marc Bosman rebelled against the established laws, as he ended a contract with Belgian Liege and the club – which at that time had the power to claim a clause even if there was no connection contractual – he proposed to renew for one year with a 75% salary reduction. The then midfielder objected because he understood that this was to contravene the right of free movement of workers in the European Union (established in 1989) and because he could not go to Dunkirk, reluctant to pay money for the transfer. And although Bosman lost his career in minor clubs, his legacy did not, because since 1995 the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a ruling declaring the transfer compensation illegal if the contract had ended, while allowing the global migration process in the European Union by eradicating the quotas of foreigners per team, when before they were limited to three.

The measure had other collateral consequences that have explained football in the last two and a half decades. “The 1995 ruling changed everything because it showed that the principles of the European Union, which are free movement, must be imposed in the world of football. The problem is that football must respect the basic principles of the European Union… ”, points out Cascella; “And it is noteworthy that these clubs that leave UEFA are the same ones that in recent years have had an incredible passive balance and that have gone ahead with fictitious capital gains, or even with financial Fair Play violations.” Valentine understands something similar: “There was a wild globalization that led us to symbiosis with public limited companies and with the entry of foreign capital to find a loss of essence and identity of the clubs.” And he adds: “The best went to the biggest clubs when before they could only have a few. That made the biggest ones even bigger. But it has also led to speculation and inflationism that has caused a few agents to dominate all major operations. ” Opinion in which the former sports director consulted deepens: “The Bosman Law increased the power of the clubs, which previously did not have the best foreigners, but the best internationals who could not leave either …”.

All this caused the lack of continuity in the generations of the quarry of any club, to the point that it is already normal for a boy over 16 years of age to choose to finish his training in a foreign entity because they offer him a more interesting sports project and especially more money. Circumstance that led UEFA to dictate a new rule that all teams in the competition had to have a minimum number of players trained in the country. Cortapisa, however, did not change the differences between the clubs, since each season the differences are accentuated more and the winners are repeated. And, as a revealing fact, since 2000, in Spain there have only been two pichichis nationals (Güiza on 07-08 and Tristán on 01-02); in England Harry Kane only appears twice (15-16 and 16-17), although now Vardy leads him; in Italy it is different because Inmobile, Di Natale, Vieri, Luca Toni vindicated it with their capocannoniere; and in Germany only four have won the glory: Meier (14-15), Kiessling (12-13), Mario Gömez (10-11) and Klose (05-06).

“Before and now, the usual winners. You don’t have to think about it because they are better and because they will continue to have better economic capacity ”, explains the sports director; “But if they want to do the Super League now, it is because they believe that UEFA profits too much from the competitions it organizes without being a leading player. It is a problem from years ago ”. But the reality is that the same people do not always win …. Since 1996, the Champions League has only been won by teams from the four major European leagues except for Porto de Mourinho in 2004. This represents a victory of 4% of the others. leagues … Very far from the 32.5% that was achieved in the 40 European Cup titles that were held before applying the law, with champions that will hardly be able to do so again such as Benfica (twice), Celtic, Feyenoord, Ajax ( 4), Steaua de Bucharest, Porto, PSV and Red Star, plus Marseille in a title marred by match-fixing in the French league. A trend that has also been seen in the World Cups, since in this period of time six have been held and only Brazil has been able to say theirs in 2002 before the European strength, crowned France (twice), Italy, Spain and Germany . “Now the differences will be seen even more because all the players who can will want to play in the best competition,” says Valentín. “It takes a little time for the players and agents to decide what to do,” Cascella closes. But what is clear is that the second football revolution is about to begin.

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