UEFA Financial Fair Play: A legal and economic analysis of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Regulations’ effect on the competition in European football

Jeppe Grunnet Mieritz & Einar Marsteen Helde

Student thesis: Master thesis


In this thesis, the UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations and its effect on the competition in European football have been studied. The purpose has been to figure out the legal position of the FFP regulations in connection with European Union (EU) competition law and to analyse how the break-even principle from the FFP regulations affect the competition in the top 5 leagues in Europe. The legal analysis goes through the objectives behind the regulations and the measures taken from UEFA. By using EU’s White Paper on sport and case law, the analysis establish the connection between EU law and sport regulations. The FFP regulations’ possible violation of TFEU article 101 is therefore examined in detail. Through this examination, we see signs of salary cap tendencies, which then are analysed in connection to EU law and sports. To establish the effect of the regulations, an assessment of the state of the clubs and other related parties will address their situation after the introduction of the new regulations. From a legal perspective the regulations are in violation of TFEU article 101, 1, though with the exceptions for sports in EU’s White Paper on sports it could be exempted for being for the good of the sport. The economic analysis focus on the break-even rules in the FFP regulations. To see the effect of the regulations, an analysis of the competitive balance (CB) in the top 5 leagues in Europe is made. Combining this analysis with the revenue streams from the top 2 clubs in each of the five countries, the impact of the Champions League payment distribution, particularly the market pool share, stands out. The income generated from participating in Champions League have a significant impact on the CB. Resulting in an evaluation of whether or not UEFA can claim to the EU Commission, that the FFP regulations are in the best interest for the sport. Concluding from an economic point of view, that the FFP regulations with the current distribution of Champions League payment is not improving the CB and is therefore not in the interest of the sport. Finally, the thesis combines the legal and economic analysis in an integrated part. Here the most critical concerns and issues are raised. Followed by an assessment of the future of the FFP regulations and the competition in European top football. UEFA is given recommendations on how they should use the regulations and change the distribution for participation in Champions League, in order to create a better competition and to secure the survival of FFP.

EducationsMSc in Commercial Law, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages112