In 1995 when Belgian footballer Jean-Marc Bosman won his case in the European Court of Justice, the world of football was changed forever. Players at the end of their club contracts are now free to leave without their previous employer receiving a transfer free. The Bosman rule was born.
Bosman argued that RFC Liège had no right to hold him hostage when he had completed contractual obligations with them. By winning, he wrestled away a slither of power from football clubs – something that professional players still rightly use to forge their own career paths. However, fast forward to 2019, and it’s the clubs that now need their pivotal Bosman moment.
As I type, three of the biggest footballers on the world stage are agitating for a move. All of which are still under contract at their current club.
Atlético Madrid ace, Antoine Griezmann’s deal doesn’t expire until 2023, but he’s failed to report to pre-season training. Similarly, PSG’s Neymar hasn’t returned yet having decided that two seasons in Ligue 1 is more than enough. The Brazilian’s contract stretches to 2022. And although World Cup winning midfielder, Paul Pogba has joined his Manchester United team-mates on tour, he’s made it clear he wants out.
The clubs are then forced to send out limp press releases in an effort to show some authority. They rarely do.