Citation Morrow S (1997) Accounting for Football Players. Financial and Accounting Implications of 'Royal Club Liegois and Others V Bosman' for Football in the United Kingdom. Journal of Human Resource Costing and Accounting, 2 (1), pp. 55-71. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb029035
Abstract The decision by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in the case involving the Belgian footballer Jean-Marc Bosnian presents the most serious challenge yet to the influence football clubs hold over their players. The court decided that it is a breach of European law for clubs to demand a transfer fee in respect of a player at the end of his contract, as this is a restriction of the free movement of labour as set out in Article 48 of the Treaty of Rome. This paper considers the implications of this decision for professional football clubs in the UK, several of whom record the services provided by their players as assets on their balance sheet. The paper considers various possible accounting treatments and concludes that in the short term at least, given the uncertainties surrounding the industry post Bosman, recording the cost of players' registrations at their historical cost is the most appropriate policy for clubs to adopt. The paper also considers the implications of the case for clubs' fund-raising capabilities, through interviews with clubs' bankers, finding that banks are more concerned about the quality of income stream rather than the existence of security in the form of transferring players' registrations. 'If someone regards players as a merchandise with a monetary value, whose value may in some cases even be included in the balance sheet, he does so at his own risk.'
Keywords Football finance; Soccer Scotland; Sports agents Legal status, laws, etc.; Soccer players Legal status, laws, etc.
Journal Journal of Human Resource Costing and Accounting: Volume 2, Issue 1