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Lawyers claim win over UEFA in ongoing legal fight against rules that curb club spending

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BRUSSELS — Lawyers challenging UEFA's "Financial Fair Play" rules which curb club spending have won a first victory in a case that will now go to the European Union's supreme court.

A local court in Brussels asked the European Union's Court of Justice to rule on whether UEFA's rules break laws on freedom of competition and investment, lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont announced in a statement on Tuesday.

UEFA said it would appeal the ruling, thereby freezing the lower court's provision to delay the next phase of rules. UEFA intends to cut from 45 million euros ($50 million) to 30 million euros ($33.5 million) the maximum loss clubs can make on player transfers and wages over a three-year period.

"UEFA considers it strange that a national court having no competence to hear a dispute on the merits would, at the same time, refer a question to the European Court of Justice or make a provisional order," the Swiss-based body said in a statement.

"In any event, UEFA remains fully confident that FFP is entirely in line with EU law, and that the European court will in due course simply confirm this to be the case."

Dupont is representing a player's agent in Belgium and fan groups which argue that UEFA's club finance project protects the status of existing elite clubs from ambitious rivals who want to spend heavily in chasing success.

Last year, the European Commission declined to accept the complaint, saying the parties were not directly affected by UEFA rules which targeted clubs.

UEFA has previously said it will announce modified FFP rules next Tuesday after an executive committee meeting in Prague, Czech Republic.

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