UK: Football Match Fixing: Are UEFA’s Third Party Ownership Disclosure Regulations Strong Enough?

Last Updated: 5 September 2013
Article by Daniel Geey

I would like to highlight an important football integrity issue which I have blogged about previously. The issue relates to third party ownership in football players (TPO). For an understanding about what TPO is and its advantages and drawbacks click here. This piece however is to examine an issue where the integrity of a football match could potentially be under threat. There have been many recent examples of football match manipulation. An extension of this very problem would well be happening right now in European (and world) football.

The Debate

Take the following scenario: Football Club owner A whose club plays in the Champions League owns 100% the economic rights of a player playing against his club. Even taking away the perception that the player could be influenced, the football authorities and football fans should be aware at the very least of the potential conflict of interest. It begs the questions of whether club owners or directors could also be third party owners and have multiple players playing in opposing teams and competing against each other? The simple (and worrying) answer is that nobody knows.

It has been reported recently that FIFA's Football Committee is recommending that TPO be prohibited on a global level. Regardless of the merits of such a proposal, such a prohibition, if ever enacted, is not going to be a quick process. In the meantime, there are  games occurring on a global scale where individuals who have influence at a football club (owners, directors etc) also have shareholdings in an entity that owns economic interests in football players.

The current scenario means club owners may be playing against players they own and can potentially influence. What if two players owned by the same club owner are playing against each other? It is clear that conflicts of interest could arise where a third party owner of a player is unscrupulous. If the third party owner is is involved in a football club, the player could be instructed to play badly against that owner's club. One might ask how much influence one player can have on the game but if, for instance, the player was to purposely get himself sent off, deliberately hand ball the ball, score an own goal, keep someone onside or give away a penalty or free kick such actions can clearly  have a major impact on the game. With further revelations in the press  about betting and allegations of players wiping out debts by, for example, getting deliberately sent off, illustrate that a player can have a significant influence over a football match. If one starts to think that such a person could own several players in opposing teams throughout Europe, the collective impact could be much greater. There currently is no rule against an a club owner, director or influencer owning one or more players.

The question remains whether a club owner or someone who has influence at a club also owns players in the same league/competition? I'm not sure too many people would argue that such a scenario is not a significant integrity of competition issue. There is a threat to footballing integrity and as importantly there becomes a  need for greater transparency through disclosure of such information. It begs the questions as to whether a publicly available list of third party player owners who are involved with any UEFA club should be required by UEFA (as part of their licensing regulations) to avoid any perceived UEFA club competition conflict to disclose such interests.

Does UEFA need to add additional measures to ensure the highest levels of transparency to fend off accusations of conflicts of interest?

To my knowledge, there is currently no  UEFA-wide register highlighting such potential conflicts of interest. Just as the PL has stated that information on any person or company owning 10% or more in a Premier League club would be publicly available from the 2009/10 season, perhaps every club owner whose club plays in a UEFA tournament should be required to disclose their connections or affiliations with any entities that own directly or indirectly any type of economic interest in a football player playing in a UEFA club tournament.

Transparency was highlighted by the ENIC decision as a pre-requisite for ensuring fair competition, but there appears to be few safeguards in place to inform the general public and prevent conflicts between player and club ownership from occurring. Paragraph 129 of the ENIC decision stressed that:

"among the myriad of rules needed in order to organize a football competition, rules bound to protect public confidence in the authenticity of results appear to be of the utmost importance. The need to preserve the reputation and quality of the football product may bring about restraints..."

The ENIC case only highlighted instances where a company could not own more than one club, and crucially not where a club owner had a third party player agreement in place. Whether there is such a substantive logical distinction between the two types of ownership is debatable. However, bearing in mind CAS's forceful words in needing to protect football fans from any potential conflict and the "need to preserve the reputation and quality of the football product" (CAS 98/200, para 129) perhaps UEFA should consider taking a lead in order to maintain confidence in European club competitions.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Daniel Geey
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.