An assessment of the compatibility of UEFA’s home grown player rule with Article 45 TFEU

This article provides the results of a European Commission study into the compatibility of UEFA’s "home grown player rule" (the Rule) with EU laws on free movement of workers. The Rule was introduced to increase competitive balance, and improve the training and development of young players in European football, but gives rise to indirect nationality discrimination and has the potential to restrict the ability of EU footballers to be employed by clubs in other Member States. Our analysis indicates that, although UEFA’s aims are legitimate under EU law, the Rule has resulted in only a modest impact and it cannot at this stage be deemed to have satisfied proportionality control. The existence of potentially less restrictive alternatives means that UEFA should engage in social dialogue with its stakeholders to determine if other methods could be employed to achieve these aims without recourse to regulations that are intrinsically liable to infringe rules governing the free movement of EU workers.