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Twenty years after footballer Jean-Marc Bosman won a landmark ruling in the European Union, one island has still not got around to adopting the decision.

In Malta, clubs can still charge a transfer fee for players who are no longer under contract to them.

Bosman, 51, is scheduled to visit the island on Monday to help a campaign by the local players' association, MFPA, to have Maltese football authorities bring the country in line with others in the 28-nation European Union.

The former Belgian player, who went through a five-year court battle when his club RFC Liege refused to release him without receiving a fee, will make a speech at an event hosted by the union.

The Malta Football Players Association (MAFP) has been campaigning for years to try and force change in national regulations.

“We haven’t seen any political will to bring Malta in line with other European countries,” Konrad Sultana, a spokesman for the union, said.

The transfer rules, which date back to the 1960s, only apply to Maltese players and the fees are capped at 30,000 euros.

The system means that it is cheaper for clubs to sign foreign players on a free transfers, putting local footballers at a disadvantage in the employment market, according to the MFPA.


Bosman is also supporting a challenge by international players FIFPro against the transfer system that applies across the rest of the European Union.

“It’s important the battle continues,” Bosman said. “We’ve won a battle but we haven’t won the war.”

In September, FIFPro filed a complaint with the European Commission, saying that trading players for money is illegal and unjustified.

FIFPro believes the transfer system fails to redistribute football’s income fairly and treats players as commodities rather than normal EU workers.

Picture (top left): Jean-Marc Bosman (left) with FIFPro General Secretary Theo van Seggelen at an event in Amsterdam on December 15, 1965, to mark the 50th anniversary of FIFPro and the 20th anniversary of the Bosman ruling.

Picture: (centre): Bosman is honoured by FIFPro alongside other athletes who made legal sacrifices to improve conditions in their respective sports. Bottom row, left to right: George Eastham, Bruno Walrave, Jean-Marc Bosman, Claudia Pechstein. Top row, left to right: Zahir Belounis, Jyri Lehtonen, David Meca-Medina.