This Summer’s World Cup in Russia will showcase an array of expensive footballing talent. Off the pitch, however, moves are also afoot to bring the sector under the auspices of European Union employment legislation. This Working Paper looks at regulation of the football ‘industry’ in the context of emerging supranational modes of sports governance and assesses the likely consequences of formalizing employment relations. 

At the moment, regulation of this highly commercialised industry, which has been rapidly transformed from voluntary, non-profit organisations to public limited companies, still mainly takes place at the national level. However, the EU has been extending its policy remit beyond the exclusively economic and has taken an increasing interest in football and other sports. Among its aspirations are for social partners take more of a role in regulating the sports sector. The Working Paper analyses the likely impact of this on employment relations in football with a focus on widely overlooked problems of transposition and implementation.

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