What is it about?

It is the Commission's duty to uphold the free movement of people in line with Internal Market principles. In the field of sport, this means ensuring that professional and amateur sportspeople can circulate freely across the EU, while taking into account the specific characteristics of the sport sector and the needs of individual sporting disciplines.

In practice, the free movement of sportspeople can be subject to limited and proportionate restrictions, including:

  • the right to select national athletes or players for national team competitions,
  • the need to limit the number of participants in a competition,
  • the setting of deadlines for the transfers of players in team sports,
  • rules on compensation for the recruitment and training of young players.

Why is it needed?

The principles of free movement for workers, non-discrimination and citizenship rights are firmly established in EU law.

As rules relating to the movement of sportspeople are set by sports governing bodies and Member States, there is a risk of discrimination that goes against these principles; for example, in the setting of player quotas on the basis of nationality.

What has been done so far?

In 2013 the Commission published a study on the application of UEFA's Home-Grown Player rules to monitor the rules' effects on the free movement of professional footballers in the EU.

In 2011 the Commission published a study on the equal treatment of non-nationals in individual sporting competitions to provide guidance on the application of the EU principle of non-discrimination in individual sports.

What are the next steps?

The Commission will continue to monitor the application of EU free movement rules in the field of sport and to provide guidance in this field as appropriate.