BRUSSELS: The European Commission has confirmed having received a complaint about FIFA’s decision last autumn to introduce a ban on third-party ownership of players writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Media in Spain and Portugal have both reported the two countries’ leagues as the complainants against the world football federation’s decision which – ironically – had been pressed forcefully by the European governing body UEFA.

On Wednesday, news agency Bloomberg reported that the Portuguese and Spanish leagues had submitted a joint complaint with the European Commission on the ban imposed by FIFA held by third parties of the pass footballers (TPO in its English acronym).

Last December 19 FIFA’s executive committee firmed up the dates by which the TPO ban – already agreed in principle – should take effect. The decision prompted an outcry mostly in South America where the part-ownership of players by investors is common practice.

The ban should take effect on May 1 this year but will not affect contracts already running. To prevent a sudden rush of business, FIFA also ordered that any new contracts signed between January 1 and April 30 could be limited only to a maximum duration of one year.

The complainants have reportedly consulted the Belgian lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont, who played a leading role in the revolutionising Bosman case of 20 years ago.

Jorge Mendes, widely considered the most powerful agent in football with Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho among his clients, has warned that a combination of FIFA’s TPO ban and UEFA’s financial fair play system risks driving effective competition out of football.

He complained that barring a player from moving to Europe because of TPO was a restraint of trade and thus illegal under European Union law.