§ Mr. Meale
To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what assessment her Department has made of the impact of the Bosman case in the European Court of Appeal on professional football players in the United Kingdom; what assessment she has made of the extent to which out-of-contract players will be free to move to new clubs without(a) reference and (b) payment to their previous club; and what plans her Department has to issue guidelines to players on this subject. 
§ Mr. Sproat
[holding answer 15 February 1996]: The European Court of Justice ruling in the Bosman case established that article 48 of the EC treaty prevents clubs from demanding a payment to release an out-of-contract player to a club in another member state, and also prohibits rules limiting the number of players from other member 51W states which may be fielded. The court did not rule on domestic transfers. My Department is keeping in close contact with the European Commission on these issues. I understand that the English football governing bodies have acted to comply with the judgment.