FIFA has welcomed a ruling by a Belgian court to reject a challenge to the worldwide ban on third-party ownership (TPO), world football’s governing body said on Monday.

The Brussels first instance tribunal has rejected an application by private equity firm Doyen Sports Investments and Belgian second division club Seraing United against FIFA, UEFA and the Belgian FA to have the implementation of the ban suspended.

FIFA said the Brussels court ruling last Friday, July 24, dismissed arguments including allegations that the ban contravened European Union law.

“FIFA takes this opportunity to reiterate its confidence in the legality of the ban on TPO, which is indispensable for preserving clubs’ and players’ independence and for ensuring the integrity of matches and competitions,” the statement added.


The ban on TPO was introduced in May, although the Spanish and Portuguese leagues announced earlier this year that they intended to take their fight against it to the EU’s competition commission.

UEFA president Michel Platini has dubbed the practice a danger to the game, saying many players were no longer in control of their own sporting careers and were often transferred to “generate revenue for anonymous individuals who just want to get their hands on some of the money in football”.

However, advocates of the system believe it provides a crucial lifeline for financially poorer clubs to be able to compete.

When FIFA brought in the ban, it ruled that existing agreements with third parties would be allowed to continue until the end of their contractual obligation.

Third-party ownership had already been banned in the English Premier League before the worldwide prohibition came into effect.