Bosman's suit settled

 

The Belgian soccer union has agreed to pay former player Jean-Marc Bosman 16 million francs (IR£300,000) to end the legal conflict which sparked the so-called Bosman case on free movement of players.

Bosman (34), welcomed the out-of-court settlement with the Belgian union and said he was now hoping to find a job again after years in the doldrums.

"We closed the book, we turned its last page and it ended well," Bosman told reporters.

"I believe that both Jean-Marc Bosman and the union were fed up with this case, we were tired," Belgian union secretary general Jan Peeters said. "Now it's all over. We're satisfied," he said.

Bosman was claiming damages before the appeals court in the southern Belgian city of Liege in the wake of the 1995 European Court of Justice's "Bosman" ruling ending soccer's transfer system and limits on foreign players.

Bosman's case started in 1990 when his club FC Liege blocked a transfer to France's Dunkirk and later suspended him.

Bosman took Liege, the Belgian soccer union and UEFA to court. The Liege appeals court then sought the Court of Justice's advice and still had to rule on the amount of damages.

Peeters said Bosman's claims totalled 72 million francs (£1.3 million) in damages from UEFA and the Belgian union, but Bosman had already urged the union to settle out of court.

Peeters said the Belgian union was footing the whole bill.

"UEFA doesn't want to intervene. Moreover, it didn't want to take any initiative in this case and was relying on the Belgian union to end it," said Peeters, who did not rule out that the union would try to claim back part of the sum from UEFA.

But court action against UEFA was ruled out, he added.

The Bosman case quickly inflated salaries of players and made the stars even richer as it allowed them to move freely to the highest bidding club once their contract expired.

By contrast, the nine-year legal battle has ruined Bosman, forced him to live in his parent's garage for nearly two years, and wrecked his marriage.