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Seán Ó’Conaill

The EU Work Plan for Sport (2014–17) identified the sustainable financing of sport as a priority. This chapter examines the various interventions by the EU into the area of sustainable finance in football. Although the majority of the interventions relate more generally to sport rather than to football specifically an analysis of the various interventions shows that football was clearly to the forefront of the minds of the EU’s institutions on many occasions. Much of the EU’s focus on sport more generally has been led by football developments such as the Bosman ruling, football broadcast rights and the rights of clubs. The EU’s focus on sustainable finance in the context of football is not solely on the professional game at the top level. As noted in the Expert Group on Sustainable Financing of Sport, the redistribution of funds from professional sport to grassroots sport plays a key role in the sustainable financing of sport with football given as the leading example. To this end, this chapter will commence with an analysis of the various EU interventions which chart the development of an ever-increasing focus on sustainable finance within European football. Furthermore, an analysis of the role played by the Financial Fair Play Regulations and the various Transfer Regulations will be conducted in order to assess their impact on issues of sustainable finance in football with a particular focus on, first, their effectiveness in in achieving this and secondly on their compatibility with EU law.