CAS upholds three-year rule decision on Timişoara

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected FC Timişoara's appeal against a UEFA decision regarding the three-year rule that forms part of the club licensing system.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland
The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland ©Getty Images

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed an appeal by Romanian club FC Timişoara against a UEFA decision regarding the three-year rule, which is an important feature of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations.

Pursuant to this rule, clubs are not allowed to change their legal form or structure in order to obtain a licence, simply by 'cleaning up' their balance sheet while offloading debts onto a new entity that might potentially go bankrupt – thus harming creditors (including employees and social/tax authorities) as well as threatening the integrity of sporting competition. Any such alteration of a club's legal form or structure is deemed to be an interruption to its membership of a UEFA member association and consequently three years must pass before a club can apply again for a UEFA licence. In other words, the three-year rule is designed basically to avoid circumvention of the club licensing system.

Finally, FC Timişoara were not granted a licence by the Romanian Football Federation (FRF) based on the non-fulfilment of the licensing criteria and therefore could not participate in the UEFA club competitions in the 2011/12 season.