IMPLICATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES OF THE BOSMAN RULING: THE CASE OF THE GREEK BASKETBALL LEAGUE
John DOUVIS1, Temis BILLONIS2
1Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of Athens, Greece
2Basketopolis SA Sports Marketing & Services, Greece
Keywords: Bosman ruling, Greek Basketball League, European Court of Justice, sport
The European Court’s decision at the end of 1995, which granted athletes the same freedom of movement as all other professionals within the European Union (EU), changed once and for all the face of sport in Europe. The EU, acting as a supranational organization, changed the rules of the market. The Bosman ruling – named after the Belgian footballer that brought the case to the Court – has since had an immense impact at every level of the industry. Not only have the players from all member states acquired the right to move freely and enjoy the same privileges of domestic citizens, but also the long established transfer process was seriously questioned. The Bosman ruling also declared that the transfer fee that clubs had to pay for out of contract players was against Community legislation, creating significant results for the financial planning of the clubs and raising questions for their future survival. Apart from the economic consequences of the ruling, an important aspect of the case was the affection it had on the sporting/cultural side of the industry. For centuries sport has been a basic element of the European society and represents a great deal more than just a form of entertainment. This relationship was put in jeopardy after the ruling allowed the clubs to have as many foreign players as they wish, thus altering their identity. Some argue that this ruling is only peripheral to sport and is a part of the major dispute within the EU: What is the level of integration that the member states have to reach? This study examined the general implications and consequences of the Bosman ruling for the industry, at every level that is affected. The theory was then applied – through primary research – to the Greek Basketball league, confirming the theory only in part and revealing once more the controversial face of this ruling.