Payouts Allowed Over Youth Players

Clubs To Be Allowed To Claim Compensation


Compensation can be claimed by football teams if their youth players sign for another club within the EU on their first professional contract.

The European Court of Justice made the ruling in the case of 29-year old French player Olivier Bernard. He signed for Newcastle United in 1997 after training with French club Olympique Lyonnaise for three years.

The French Professional Football Charter insists that if promising young players are offered a contract they must join the team with which they trained. If they do not, then they cannot join another French team for three years.

Because Bernard joined an English team he appealed against the ruling of a French court that he and Newcastle United should be compensating Lyon with around £48,000, equivalent to what Bernard's salary in his first year with Lyon would have been.

He and Newcastle United challenged the decision, leading the French appeal court to go to the European Court of Justice.

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Kevin Harris-James, a sports law expert from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “This is a fair and equitable outcome. If a club invests time and money in the nurturing and development of a young player, it is only right that club should be compensated if upon attaining age 17 the player signs his 1st professional contract with another club. Football needs clubs to invest in youth development and this ruling ensures that the less affluent clubs in particular who invest in youth are adequately compensated for the investment in the early and informative years of a player’s career.”