Legal opinion: Feasible upper salary limit in Europe?

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An upper salary limit in European football does not appear to violate EU law. This judgment comes at least two legal opinions from the scientific services of the Bundestag, which the SPD politician Thomas Oppermann commissioned. About it reports Southgerman newspaper (Monday edition).

The two reports will be presented at a meeting of the first and second division teams in the German Football League next Tuesday. As the SZ reports, a cap on player salaries is described as feasible if it is introduced by the European Football Union.

Oppermann, who is the Vice President of the Bundestag and has also chaired the Ethics Committee of the German Football Association since 2019, now wants to push such an upper limit. “The whole business model of football came to a standstill as a result of the corona crisis,” says Oppermann, explaining his move.

At the closed conference in Brussels in autumn, he wanted to explore the chances of “securing a corresponding regulation under European law.” So far, the industry had rejected a ceiling on the argument that it was not compatible with EU law.

UEFA must go ahead

However, the two reports state that a salary cap cannot be introduced by the legislature but at UEFA level in order to survive in the canon of EU rights. An upper salary limit, it is said, could dissolve the agglomeration of elite players in the super-rich clubs and promote sporting equal opportunities.

It is in the interest of paying customers, “that the uncertainty of the outcome of a game is increased.” In professional football, the loss of tension has long been a problem, the experts explicitly name the monotony of the Bundesliga due to the dominance of Bayern Munich. A salary cap would “increase the entertainment value”.

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The overbidding dispute on the player market “through English, Spanish and German clubs” has become so independent that “it is no longer possible for a European club to get out of it without endangering its sporting and economic existence.” A salary cap by UEFA decree could also be a solution here.

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