G. Gradev: No more 10000 EUR to federation

Volleyball and football agent G. Gradev won a long lasting fight with Bulgarian volleyball federation. As a result BVF can not collect any transfer fee.



Every volleyball federation is collecting "fee" from the players to allow them to play in other country. Every federation is asking different fee, from 250 EUR to thousands of EUR. Some federations are making good bussiness from that. Mr. Gradev is the first person in Europe who broke this common rule. We are glad that Mr. Gradev respond to our questions.

Why did you start to fight against Bulgarian volleyball federation?
I started the fight with the BVF, because I felt that the collection of fees precludes the free movement of players (Art. 39 EC Treaty). The case is not directed only against the collection of ITC fees. The second part was against the BVF prohibition players under 21-years-of-age to move freely and the third part – agents not licensed by the BVF were precluded from midiating in transfers of players. All three parts were successfuly defended by my company before the Court.
How much asked Bulgarian federation for the transfer fees? Every volleyball player had the same amount?
BVF was asking:
– Eur 10’000 from free players
– Eur 1’500 from players moving to Italian Serie A1 teams
– Eur 1’000 from players moving to A2 teams
– Eur 500 from players moving to A3 and below teams
– Eur 1’000 from every woman above 30 and man above 33 (plain discrimination).

The hearing at the court took almost two years. What were the main problems which consumed so much time?
The hearing took like 1 year and 8 months. There were 6 court sessions. Lots of new evidence came out during the process and in addition, an international expertise was requested by me. That caused the delay in proceedings. It was important the outcome of the case for me, not the timing in pronouncing the final verdict.

The decision is final now?
The decision can be appealed against before the Supreme Court (Panel of 5 judges) within 14 days. However, I do not think BVF will appeal. They have zero chance in case of an appeal.

What will happen in Bulgaria?
As a result, BVF is now compelled to issue ITCs to players for free from now on. This will force many players to seek "free agent" status and not to re-sign with their current clubs, given that the free players will not have to pay Eur 10’000 to BVF anymore. Nearly 150 players are issued ITC every year. It makes like Eur 200’000 yearly income for BVF. THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!!!

This decision will be applied for every EU country?
Obviously, the decision cannot be applied in other EU member states due to the grounds on which it was rendered.

The new 2009 FIVB Sports Regulations already revoked the entire Chapter "Transfer Fee to the Federation of Origin" set out in the previous edition 2006 of the FIVB Sports Regulations. So, even under the new FIVB rules, in force since March 2009, the BVF and all other National Federations have no right to collect any fees for the issuance of the ITC. It is only the FIVB that will continue to collect such fees (cf. Art. of the 2009 FIVB rules).

How much you have to pay transfer fee in your country?