Asser International Sports Law Blog

Our International Sports Law Diary
The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

Not comfortably satisfied? The upcoming Court of Arbitration for Sport case of the thirty-four current and former players of the Essendon football club. By James Kitching

Editor's note: James Kitching is Legal Counsel and Secretary to the AFC judicial bodies at the Asian Football Confederation. James is an Australian and Italian citizen and one of the few Australians working in international sports law. He is admitted as barrister and solicitor in the Supreme Court of South Australia. James graduated from the International Master in the Management, Law, and Humanities of Sport offered by the Centre International d'Etude du Sport in July 2012.


Introduction

On 12 May 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had filed an appeal against the decision issued by the Australian Football League (AFL) Anti-Doping Tribunal (AADT) that thirty-four current and former players of Essendon Football Club (Essendon) had not committed any anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) identified within the AFL Anti-Doping Code (AADC). The players had each been charged with using Thymosin-Beta 4 (TB4) during the 2012 AFL season.

On 1 June 2015, WADA announced that it had filed an appeal against the decision by the AADT to clear Mr. Stephen Dank (Dank), a sports scientist employed at Essendon during the relevant period, of twenty-one charges of violating the AADC. Dank was, however, found guilty of ten charges and banned for life.

This blog will solely discuss the likelihood of the first AADT decision (the Decision) being overturned by the CAS. It will briefly summarise the facts, discuss the applicable rules and decision of the AADT, review similar cases involving ‘non-analytical positive’ ADRVs relating to the use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method, and examine whether the Code of Sports-related Arbitration (CAS Code) is able to assist WADA in its appeal.

This blog will not examine the soap opera that was the two years leading-up to the Decision. Readers seeking a comprehensive factual background should view the excellent up-to-date timeline published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. More...


EU Law is not enough: Why FIFA's TPO ban survived its first challenge before the Brussels Court


Star Lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont is almost a monopolist as far as high profile EU law and football cases are concerned. This year, besides a mediatised challenge against UEFA’s FFP regulations, he is going after FIFA’s TPO ban on behalf of the Spanish and Portuguese leagues in front of the EU Commission, but also before the Brussels First Instance Court defending the infamous Malta-based football investment firm Doyen Sport. FIFA and UEFA’s archenemy, probably electrified by the 20 years of the Bosman ruling, is emphatically trying to reproduce his world-famous legal prowess. Despite a first spark at a success in the FFP case against UEFA with the Court of first instance of Brussels sending a preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), this has proven to be a mirage as the CJEU refused, as foretold, to answer the questions of the Brussels Court, while the provisory measures ordered by the judge have been suspended due to UEFA’s appeal. But, there was still hope, the case against FIFA’s TPO ban, also involving UEFA and the Belgium federation, was pending in front of the same Brussels Court of First Instance, which had proven to be very willing to block UEFA’s FFP regulations. Yet, the final ruling is another disappointment for Dupont (and good news for FIFA). The Court refused to give way to Doyen’s demands for provisional measures and a preliminary reference. The likelihood of a timely Bosman bis repetita is fading away. Fortunately, we got hold of the judgment of the Brussels court and it is certainly of interest to all those eagerly awaiting to know whether FIFA’s TPO ban will be deemed compatible or not with EU law. More...


The New FIFA Intermediaries Regulations under EU Law Fire in Germany. By Tine Misic

I'm sure that in 1985, plutonium is available in every corner drugstore, but in 1955, it's a little hard to come by.” (Dr. Emmett L. Brown)[1]


Back to the future?

Availing oneself of EU law in the ambit of sports in 1995 must have felt a bit like digging for plutonium, but following the landmark ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Bosman case[2], 20 years later, with all the buzz surrounding several cases where EU law is being used as an efficient ammunition for shelling various sports governing or organising bodies, one may wonder if in 2015 EU law is to be “found in every drug store” and the recent cases (see inter alia Heinz Müller v 1. FSV Mainz 05, Daniel Striani ao v UEFA, Doyen Sports ao v URBSFA, FIFA, UEFA) [3] cannot but invitingly evoke the spirit of 1995.

One of the aforementioned cases that also stands out pertains to the injunction decision[4] issued on 29 April 2015 by the Regional Court (Landesgericht) in Frankfurt am Main (hereinafter: the Court) in the dispute between the intermediary company Firma Rogon Sportmanagement (hereinafter: the claimant) and the German Football Federation (Deutschen Fußball-Bund, DFB), where the claimant challenged the provisions of the newly adopted DFB Regulations on Intermediaries (hereinafter: DFB Regulations)[5] for being incompatible with Articles 101 and 102 TFEU.[6] The Court, by acknowledging the urgency of the matter stemming from the upcoming transfer window and the potential loss of clients, deemed a couple of shells directed at the DFB Regulations to be well-aimed, and granted an injunction due to breach of Article 101 TFEU. More...




Compatibility of fixed-term contracts in football with Directive 1999/70/EC. Part 2: The Heinz Müller case. By Piotr Drabik

Introduction
The first part of the present blog article provided a general introduction to the compatibility of fixed-term contracts in football with Directive 1999/70/EC[1] (Directive). However, as the Member States of the European Union enjoy a considerable discretion in the implementation of a directive, grasping the impact of the Directive on the world of football would not be possible without considering the national context. The recent ruling of the Arbeitsgericht Mainz (the lowest German labour court; hereinafter the Court) in proceedings brought by a German footballer Heinz Müller provides an important example in this regard. This second part of the blog on the legality of fixed-term contract in football is devoted to presenting and assessing the Court’s decision.


I. Facts and Procedure
Heinz Müller, the main protagonist of this case, was a goalkeeper playing for 1.FSV Mainz 05 a club partaking to the German Bundesliga. More...


Compatibility of Fixed-Term Contracts in Football with Directive 1999/70/EC. Part.1: The General Framework. By Piotr Drabik

Introduction
On 25 March 2015, the Labour Court of Mainz issued its decision in proceedings brought by a German footballer, Heinz Müller, against his (now former) club 1. FSV Mainz 05 (Mainz 05). The Court sided with the player and ruled that Müller should have been employed by Mainz 05 for an indefinite period following his 2009 three year contract with the club which was subsequently extended in 2011 to run until mid-2014. The judgment was based on national law implementing Directive 1999/70 on fixed-term work[1] (Directive) with the latter being introduced pursuant to art. 155(2) TFEU (ex art. 139(2) TEC). On the basis of this article, European social partners’ may request a framework agreement which they conclude to be implemented on the European Union (EU, Union) level by a Council decision on a proposal from the Commission. One of the objectives of the framework agreement,[2] and therefore of the Directive, was to establish a system to prevent abuse arising from the use of successive fixed-term employment contracts or relationships[3] which lies at the heart of the discussed problem.[4] More...

UEFA’s FFP out in the open: The Dynamo Moscow Case

Ever since UEFA started imposing disciplinary measures to football clubs for not complying with Financial Fair Play’s break-even requirement in 2014, it remained a mystery how UEFA’s disciplinary bodies were enforcing the Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play (“FFP”) regulations, what measures it was imposing, and what the justifications were for the imposition of these measures. For over a year, the general public could only take note of the 23 settlement agreements between Europe’s footballing body and the clubs. The evidential obstacle for a proper analysis was that the actual settlements remained confidential, as was stressed in several of our previous Blogs.[1] The information provided by the press releases lacked the necessary information to answer the abovementioned questions.

On 24 April 2015, the UEFA Club Financial Control Body lifted part of the veil by referring FC Dynamo Moscow to the Adjudicatory Body. Finally, the Adjudicatory Body had the opportunity to decide on a “FFP case. The anxiously-awaited Decision was reached by the Adjudicatory Chamber on 19 June and published not long after. Now that the Decision has been made public, a new stage of the debate regarding UEFA’s FFP policy can start.More...

Policing the (in)dependence of National Federations through the prism of the FIFA Statutes. By Tine Misic

…and everything under the sun is in tune,

but the sun is eclipsed by the moon…[1] 


The issue

Ruffling a few feathers, on 30 May 2015 the FIFA Executive Committee rather unsurprisingly, considering the previous warnings,[2] adopted a decision to suspend with immediate effect the Indonesian Football Federation (PSSI) until such time as PSSI is able to comply with its obligations under Articles 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statutes.[3] Stripping PSSI of its membership rights, the decision results in a prohibition of all Indonesian teams (national or club) from having any international sporting contact. In other words, the decision precludes all Indonesian teams from participating in any competition organised by either FIFA or the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). In addition, the suspension of rights also precludes all PSSI members and officials from benefits of any FIFA or AFC development programme, course or training during the term of suspension. This decision coincides with a very recent award by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in this ambit, which shall be discussed further below.[4]More...


The Brussels Court judgment on Financial Fair Play: a futile attempt to pull off a Bosman. By Ben Van Rompuy

On 29 May 2015, the Brussels Court of First Instance delivered its highly anticipated judgment on the challenge brought by football players’ agent Daniel Striani (and others) against UEFA’s Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFP). In media reports,[1] the judgment was generally portrayed as a significant initial victory for the opponents of FFP. The Brussels Court not only made a reference for a preliminary ruling to the European Court of Justice (CJEU) but also imposed an interim order blocking UEFA from implementing the second phase of the FFP that involves reducing the permitted deficit for clubs.

A careful reading of the judgment, however, challenges the widespread expectation that the CJEU will now pronounce itself on the compatibility of the FFP with EU law. More...

A Bridge Too Far? Bridge Transfers at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. By Antoine Duval and Luis Torres.

FIFA’s freshly adopted TPO ban entered into force on 1 May (see our Blog symposium). Though it is difficult to anticipate to what extent FIFA will be able to enforce the ban, it is likely that many of the third-party investors will try to have recourse to alternative solutions to pursue their commercial involvement in the football transfer market. One potential way to circumvent the FIFA ban is to use the proxy of what has been coined “bridge transfers”. A bridge transfer occurs when a club is used as an intermediary bridge in the transfer of a player from one club to another. The fictitious passage through this club is used to circumscribe, for example, the payment of training compensation or to whitewash a third-party ownership by transforming it into a classical employment relationship. This is a legal construction that has gained currency especially in South American football, but not only. On 5 May 2015, in the Racing Club v. FIFA case, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rendered its first award involving directly a bridge transfer. As this practice could become prevalent in the coming years we think that this case deserves a close look. More...

20 Years After Bosman - The New Frontiers of EU Law and Sport - Special Issue of the Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law

Editor's note: This is a short introduction written for the special Issue of the Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law celebrating the 20 years of the Bosman ruling and dedicated to the new frontiers of EU law and Sport (the articles are available here). For those willing to gain a deeper insight into the content of the Issue we organize (in collaboration with Maastricht University and the Maastricht Journal) a launching event with many of the authors in Brussels tomorrow (More info here).More...

Asser International Sports Law Blog | The Brussels Court judgment on Financial Fair Play: a futile attempt to pull off a Bosman. By Ben Van Rompuy

Asser International Sports Law Blog

Our International Sports Law Diary
The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

The Brussels Court judgment on Financial Fair Play: a futile attempt to pull off a Bosman. By Ben Van Rompuy

On 29 May 2015, the Brussels Court of First Instance delivered its highly anticipated judgment on the challenge brought by football players’ agent Daniel Striani (and others) against UEFA’s Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFP). In media reports,[1] the judgment was generally portrayed as a significant initial victory for the opponents of FFP. The Brussels Court not only made a reference for a preliminary ruling to the European Court of Justice (CJEU) but also imposed an interim order blocking UEFA from implementing the second phase of the FFP that involves reducing the permitted deficit for clubs.

A careful reading of the judgment, however, challenges the widespread expectation that the CJEU will now pronounce itself on the compatibility of the FFP with EU law. 


Background: the proceedings before the Commission

In May 2013, Daniel Striani, a Belgian football agent licensed by the Royal Belgian Football Association, lodged a complaint with the European Commission against UEFA. He requested the Commission to launch an investigation into the break-even requirement contained in Articles 58 to 63 of the FFP. According to Striani, the break-even requirement infringes the European antitrust rules (Article 101 and 102 TFEU) and the free movement rules.

The complaint put the Commission in a difficult position. It had repeatedly expressed political support for the principles underlying the UEFA FFP. In 2009, for instance, the Commission organized a conference on the subject matter and in 2012 then Commissioner for Competition Almunia issued a joint statement with UEFA president Michel Platini stressing that the FFP are “consistent with the aims and objectives of European Union policy in the field of State Aid”. Although the vague statements were carefully drafted to prejudice a proper legal assessment, the withdrawal of the Commission’s support would have been politically embarrassing.

The Commission, however, is not obliged to carry out an investigation on the basis of every complaint brought before it. Given its limited resources, the Commission uses prioritization criteria, set out in its Notice on the handling of complaints, to determine whether there is sufficient Union interest in pursuing a complaint.

In April 2014, the Commission informed Striani, pursuant to Article 7(1) of Regulation 773/2004, of its intention to reject his complaint. The Commission put forward three grounds for rejecting the complaint. First, the Commission considered that Striani lacked a legitimate interest to lodge a complaint. Only natural and legal persons that can demonstrate that they are “directly and adversely affected” by the alleged infringement are entitled to lodge a complaint.[2] Second, the Commission argued that Striani could secure the protection of his rights before a national court. Third, the Commission stressed that it had received only one complaint regarding the FFP.

Striani’s legal counsel, Jean-Louis Dupont, challenged the first and third grounds for rejecting the complaint. He reiterated the argument that the FFP directly affects football player’s agents. In response to the third ground, he submitted three further complaints on behalf of individual football fans, a players’ agent and the Manchester City FC Supporters Club. Evidently, the fact that only two months after lodging his complaint, Striani brought a civil action before the Brussels Court of First Instance (developing virtually similar arguments as set out in the complaint) made it difficult to counter the argument that the complainant could seek relief before national courts.

The European Commission eventually opted for the easiest way out. In October 2014, it formally rejected Striani’s complaint on the sole ground that “the Brussels Court is well-placed to handle the matters raised in your complaint. This is because your rights will be protected by that court in a satisfactory manner”. Hold that thought.


The civil action before the Brussels Court

While the complaint was unsuccessful, the proceedings before the Commission did make clear that Striani needed stronger arguments to demonstrate that he has standing to complain about the FFP’s compatibility with EU (competition) law. 

Striani essentially argues that the FFP break-even rule, by reducing the number of transfers, the level of the transfer fees and the players’ salaries, has a deflationary effect on the revenue of players’ agents. Since agents are thus only indirectly affected, substantial changes were made to the original claim to buttress the legitimate interest of the original claimant.

First, when Striani commenced his civil action before the Brussels Court in June 2013, he only sought one symbolic euro as compensation for the material damage that he had allegedly suffered. In September 2014, the amount of relief sought by Striani was changed to EUR 69.750 per year since the introduction of the break-even rule.

Second, a number of other claimants later joined the same proceeding. The Brussels court admitted the voluntary intervention of: (1) Dejan Mitrovic, a players’ agent domiciled in Belgium but licensed by the Serbian Football Association; (2) RFC Sérésien, a Belgian Second Division football club (now competing as Serain United); and (3) a total of 53 football fans (i.e. supporters of Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City) domiciled in France and the United Kingdom. 


The judgment of the Brussels Court: an example of legal fiction

In its ruling of 29 May 2015, the Brussels Court declared itself incompetent to deal with Striani’s case because it has no jurisdiction.

Since UEFA challenged its competence when the litigation was initiated, the Court had to establish whether the requirements of international jurisdiction are satisfied. When an EU competition law action is brought against an undertaking having its seat in Switzerland, the jurisdiction of Member States’ courts is determined in relation to the Lugano II Convention on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (Lugano Convention).[3] The fundamental principle laid down in Article 2 is that the defendant should be sued where it is domiciled. Since the FFP were adopted by UEFA, the place of the event giving rise to the damage must be regarded as having taken place within Switzerland. Hence, in principle, only the Swiss courts have jurisdiction over the recovery of damages suffered by the alleged anti-competitive nature of the FFP.

Only by way of derogation, Article 5(3) of the Lugano Convention, applicable to torts (delict or quasi-delict), grants special territorial jurisdiction also to the courts where “the harmful event occurred or may occur”. This covers both place where the damage occurred (Belgium) and the place of the event giving rise to it (Switzerland).[4] It follows that the defendant may be sued, at the option of the applicant, in the courts of either of those places. According to settled case law, however, this exceptional attribution of jurisdiction requires the existence of “particularly close connecting factors” between the dispute and the courts of the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur.[5]

The Brussels Court disagreed with UEFA that the damage pleaded by Striani is speculative and purely hypothetical.[6] At the same time, it stressed that this damage is no more than the indirect consequence of the harm initially suffered by the clubs (participating in UEFA’s Champions’ League and Europa League competitions): “Neither the players nor the players’ agents are addresses of the FFP. Subsequently, players could only suffer indirect harm and agents only ‘very indirect’ harm”.[7] Given that jurisdiction by virtue of Article 5(3) of the Lugano Convention depends on the identification of direct harm, the Court concluded that the necessary connecting factors based on the defendant’s act are absent. In other words, because the FFP do not adversely affect Striani directly, he lacks standing to bring a damages action for breach of EU (competition) law before a Member State’s court.[8] This restrictive interpretation of Article 5(3) of the Lugano Convention is in line with the case law of the CJEU.[9] The Court did not discuss the standing of the other claimants that joined the proceedings.

Albeit having established that only the Swiss courts are competent as to the substance of the dispute, the Brussels Court decided to grant Striani the requested provisional measure, namely blocking UEFA from implementing the next phase of the FFP implementation (i.e. the reduction of the so-called “acceptable deviation” from EUR 45m to 30m). In a surprising move, the Court invoked Article 31 of the Lugano Convention for this purpose, which stipulates that:

“Application may be made to the courts of a State bound by (the Lugano) Convention for such provisional, including protective, measures as may be available under the law of that State, even if, under this Convention, the courts of another State bound by this Convention have jurisdiction as to the substance of the matter”.

The Court did not indicate why the urgency of the situation or the need to safeguard the legal and factual situation of Striani warranted this provisional measure (whose geographical reach is limited to the Belgian territory).[10] Instead, the Court decided to make a preliminary reference to the CJEU to reach a decision on the validity of the prescribed measure. The preliminary reference, another request of Striani when initiating litigation, essentially asks whether the FFP break-even requirement is compatible with Articles 63, 45, 56, 101 and 102 TFEU.

So in the end, the Brussels Court did not send Striani home empty-handed. Yet it would seem that his victory is merely a pyrrhic one. Since UEFA decided to appeal the judgment, both the provisional measure and the preliminary reference are suspended. Hence, UEFA can proceed with the next phase of implementation of the FFP as planned. Moreover, it is unlikely that the Brussels Court of Appeal would uphold the first instance decision. First, the use of Article 31 of the Lugano Convention to trigger a preliminary reference on the substance of the case – by a court that is incompetent to deal with it - is arguably a circumvention of the requirements for international jurisdiction (and thus a perforation of the general scheme and objectives of the Lugano Convention). Second, the granting of provisional measures on the basis of Article 31 is conditional on the existence of a connecting link between the subject matter of the measure and the territorial jurisdiction of the court ordering the measure.[11] In the absence of an alternative explanation, the Court thus contradicts itself because it found that particularly close connecting factors to take jurisdiction were absent.


Back to the European Commission?

The judgment of the Brussels Court puts the European Commission in an awkward position. Evidently, the Court was incapable of adequately protecting the rights of the complainant, as the Commission had argued when rejecting his complaint.

If Striani were to re-submit his complaint, it would be difficult for the Commission to argue once again that there is insufficient Union interest to conduct an investigation. It still could argue that Striani lacks legitimate interest because he is not directly affected by the alleged infringement. The fact that the Commission ultimately refrained from using this argument the first time may prove useful if a second rejection decision would be appealed before the General Court.

In any event, an authoritative assessment of the compatibility of the FFP with EU (competition) law is unfortunately not yet on the cards. Last week UEFA soothed several embittered clubs by deciding to relax some of the FFP rules. And it would be shocking if the action brought by Paris Saint-Germain fans and – this is not a joke – the ‘Association of Angry Fans against Financial Fair Play’ before the Paris High Court would overcome the jurisdictional obstacle that caused Striani to bite the dust.


[1] See e.g. The Guardian; Daily Mail; and The Independent.

[2] Commission Regulation (EC) No 773/2004 of 7 April 2004 relating to the conduct of proceedings by the Commission pursuant to Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty [2004] OJ L 123/18, Article 5(1).

[3] The Lugano Convention unified the rules on jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters and expanded the applicability of the Brussels I regulation (Council Regulation 44/2001) to the relations between Member States of the EU on the one hand and Norway, Iceland and Switzerland on the other.

[4] See e.g. Case C-352/13, Cartel Damage Claims (CDC) Hydrogen Peroxide SA v Akzo Nobel NV and Others, ECLI:EU:C:2015:335, para. 38.

[5] Idem, para. 39; Case C-228/11, Melzer v MF Global UK Ltd., ECLI:EU:C:2013:305, para. 26.

[6] Tribunal de première instance francophone de Bruxelles, Section Civile – 2013/11524/A – pp. 18, 21-22.

[7] Tribunal de première instance francophone de Bruxelles, Section Civile – 2013/11524/A – p. 18 («Que ni les joueurs, ni les agents de joueurs se sont donc visés. Que par conséquent, le préjudice qui pourrait en subir les joueurs ne peut être qu’indirect, et celui des agents de joueurs en quelque sorte ‘doublement’ indirect»).

[8] Tribunal de première instance francophone de Bruxelles, Section Civile – 2013/11524/A – p. 18 («Que par conséquent encore, l’article 5.3 ne peut fonder la compétences des juridictions belges et qu’il faut s’en tenir à la règle générale de l’article 2.1 qui renvoie aux tribunaux de l’Etat du défendeur, soit en l’espèce les juridictions suisses, pour juger du fond de l’affaire»).

[9] See e.g. Case 220/88, Dumez France SA and Tracoba SARL v Hessische Landesbank and others, ECLI:EU:C:1990:8; Case C-228/11, Melzer v MF Global UK Ltd., ECLI:EU:C:2013:305; Case C-352/13, Cartel Damage Claims (CDC) Hydrogen Peroxide SA v Akzo Nobel NV and Others, ECLI:EU:C:2015:335. Although CJEU only gives binding advice on the Brussels Convention and Brussels I and I bis Regulations, the case law is analogously applicable to the Lugano Convention (and is also taken into consideration when applying the Lugano Convention).

[10] C-261/90, Mario Reichert, Hans-Heinz Reichert and Ingeborg Kockler v Dresdner Bank AG, para. 34 (“The expression ‘provisional, including protective, measures’ … must therefore be understood as referring to measures which, in matters within the scope of the Convention, are intended to preserve a factual or legal situation so as to safeguard rights the recognition of which is sought elsewhere from the court having jurisdiction as to the substance of the matter”); Case C-391-95, Van Uden Maritime BV, trading as Van Uden Africa Line v Kommanditgesellschaft in Firma Deco-Line and Another, ECLI:EU:C:1998:543, para. 38 (“The granting of this type of measure requires particular care on the part of the court in question and detailed knowledge of the actual circumstances in which the measures sought are to take effect”).

[11] C-391/95, Van Uden Maritime BV, trading as Van Uden Africa Line v Kommanditgesellschaft in Firma Deco-Line and Another, ECLI:EU:C:1998:543, para. 40.

Comments (1) -

  • Thomas

    7/8/2015 3:26:05 PM |

    I disagree with the conclusion regarding the earlier decision of the Commission in this case.  The anticipated reference for a preliminary ruling does not mean that the European Commission's position is affected in any way.  Adequate juridictional protection does not necessarily imply that the national court must deal with the matter on its own.  On the contrary, should the interpretation of EU law be necessary for the ruling, the CJUE has to get involved.  

    As to what might happen before the Brussels court of appeal, it has already decided in an earlier decision regarding the sporting nationality of the football player Mohamed Tchité that the Brussels courts were not competent.  I was not overly convinced by the reasoning back then ... It will be interesting nonetheless.

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