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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006, 09:11 GMT 10:11 UK
Landmark case gets higher hearing
Abdelmajid Oulmers
Oulmers missed eight months after being injured playing for Morocco
A court case which will decide if clubs can claim compensation for a player injured on international duty has been moved to the European Court of Justice.

Belgian club Charleroi brought the case against Fifa after Abdelmajid Oulmers was hurt playing for Morocco in 2004.

Charleroi, who are backed by some of Europe's richest clubs, say the loss of Oulmers damaged their hopes of success.

Fifa insist there is no link between the injury of Oulmers and Charleroi's fifth-placed finish in the league.

Oulmers was sidelined for eight months after Morocco's game against Burkina Faso in November 2004.

Jean-Phillipe Lebeau, president of the commercial tribunal in Charleroi, said: "The European Court of Justice is the only court that can sufficiently decide this case."

A spokesman for the G14, which represents 18 of Europe's richest clubs, said they were "very happy" with the decision.

This ruling is good for the game, we may at last get some legal clarity
G14 lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont

"Fifa's argument was that its rules were not in any way subject to EU law," said G14 lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont.

"But we asked for a ruling at the European Court of Justice on these rules, which we've always said are unfair to every club, not just G14 members.

"This ruling is good for the game, we may at last get some legal clarity."

The G14 has already joined Olympique Lyon in a similar action over defender Eric Abidal, who broke his foot during a France friendly.

Clubs argue that because they pay the wages of players, which can exceed 100,000 a week for the top performers, they should be entitled to compensation when they are injured playing for their country.

The last major case in football to be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg also began in Belgium.

The "Bosman ruling" was named after the landmark case brought by Jean-Marc Bosman, which ended with players being given the choice to move freely between clubs when out of contract.

All sides must now deliver their arguments to the ECJ, most likely before a hearing in a few months.

"A final decision will probably take about a year," Dupont said.


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