According to the decision passed by the Commercial Court in Charleroi on 15 May 2006, the G-14 grouping has no valid claim to make against FIFA and its rule on releasing players on behalf of the G-14's members. The G-14 - a grouping of 18 top European clubs - and its claim against FIFA amounting to euro 860 million have therefore met with a rebuff. FIFA expressed satisfaction with the Charleroi court's decision to reject the G-14's claim made on behalf of its members.
The court also decided to resort to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg as part of a preliminary decision procedure, querying whether the FIFA rule on the release of players complied with European Union law. Until this question has been clarified, the court to which Charleroi appealed will no longer deal in substance with the Belgian club's claim, which is supported by the G-14 in the legal dispute with FIFA.
The bone of contention between Charleroi and FIFA centres around a demand for compensation made by Charleroi against FIFA as a result of the player, Abdelmadjid Oulmers, being unable to play for his club, Charleroi, after injuring himself representing Morocco in an international match. However, the club indirectly targeted FIFA's rule on releasing players and the club's claim is supported by the G-14, which was claiming a fanciful amount of compensation totalling euro 860 million from FIFA on behalf of its members. This demand has now been rejected by the Charleroi court.
The court called upon by Charleroi and the G-14 will now submit the question of the fundamental legality of FIFA's rule on releasing players to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for a decision. The European Union Treaty includes a provision whereby the Court of Justice can or must be called upon as part of the preliminary decision procedure to decide on such matters as the interpretation of provisions in the European Union Treaty. The court in Charleroi ruled that the legal issue as to whether FIFA's rule on the release of players in the 2001 version of the Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players complies with the EU Treaty, specifically art. 39 (Free movement of workers), art. 49 (Free movement of services) and whether FIFA's rule on releasing players contravenes the cartel ban (art. 81) and abuses a dominant position (art. 82).