Research Handbook of Employment Relations in Sport
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Research Handbook of Employment Relations in Sport

Edited by Michael Barry, James Skinner and Terry Engelberg

Employment relations, much discussed in other industries, has often been neglected in professional sports despite its unique characteristics. The book aims to explore in detail the unique nature of the employment relationship in professional sports and the sport industry.
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Chapter 2: The regulation of professional football at the European Union level: towards supranational employment relations in the football industry?

Berndt Keller


In this chapter we elaborate on the emerging supranational modes of sports governance in Europe with special consideration of the most recent transformation of professional football. Throughout the chapter we argue from an employment relations perspective and analyze our specific case in a broader, comparative perspective of European employment relations, especially working conditions. We do not provide another analysis in a purely legal perspective and do not describe again the protracted history. After introductory remarks on institutional characteristics, we first elaborate on the corporate actors on both sides (FIFPro, EPFL, ECA). Then, we analyze the first outcome of their sectoral social dialogue, the “Autonomous agreement regarding the minimum requirements for standard player contracts in the professional football sector,” presenting a detailed preliminary assessment of procedural difficulties and lasting problems. Next, we discuss various issues and regional problems of transposition and implementation of EU regulation at national level in the UEFA territory, that is, within and outside of the EU. An outlook on some future problems of co-regulation at European and national level concludes the chapter.

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