The Bosman Ruling and Labor Mobility in Football (Soccer)

John Goddard, Peter J. Sloane and John O. S. Wilson

in The Oxford Handbook of Sports Economics

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780195387773
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Bosman Ruling and Labor Mobility in Football (Soccer)

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  • Economics
  • Industry Studies
  • Labour and Demographic Economics


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This chapter reviews the historical development of free agency in professional football, using the English leagues as representative of what has happened in Europe, and then summarizes work that has been undertaken to unravel the effects of the Bosman ruling. Some data on changes in the patterns of employment of professional footballers in the English leagues since the mid-1980s, which enable several effects of the Bosman ruling to be identified, are also presented. A number of potential direct effects of the Bosman ruling on the market for playing talent were identified by Simmons. There have been significant changes in employment opportunities in the Premier League and Football League for players born in England and Wales. The influx of foreign players is one of the most visible post-Bosman developments. Although there is evidence that Bosman increased the average duration of players' employment contracts, employment turnover has also risen.

Keywords: soccer; Bosman ruling; labor mobility; professional football; employment; England; Wales; English leagues

Article.  9225 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Industry Studies ; Labour and Demographic Economics

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