Corporate / M&A

Privatisation and Change of Legal Form of Sports Clubs in Serbia

In September 2013, the Serbian vice-prime minister called for urgent privatisation in sports sector that seems to be without legal basis.

Introduction

In Europe, sports gen­er­ates annu­al turnover of EUR 400 bln or 3.7% of the EU gross domes­tic prod­uct and employs 5.4% of the entire work­force. Cur­rent­ly, as one of the fastest grow­ing indus­tries, sports makes up 3% of total world trade. Today’s most suc­cess­ful clubs are organ­ised and oper­ate as for-prof­it organ­i­sa­tions.

In Ser­bia, sport is of great impor­tance as con­firmed by the Ser­bian Con­sti­tu­tion (Ustav Repub­like Srbi­je). The Con­sti­tu­tion pro­claims sport as a social val­ue under author­i­ty of the state that reg­u­lates and pro­vides a work­ing sys­tem. Demo­c­ra­t­ic changes in Ser­bia in the year 2000 caused the need for Ser­bia to adapt to Euro­pean stan­dards in all aspects of social func­tion­ing, includ­ing sports.

To align with Euro­pean stan­dards and val­ues, the pri­vati­sa­tion of sports clubs is nec­es­sary. The Sports Act (Zakon o sportu) came into force in April 2011 and rais­es many con­tro­ver­sial ques­tions, two of which are pri­vati­sa­tion and sports clubs’ legal form.

Privatisation

Under Arti­cle 31 of the Sports Act, a pro­fes­sion­al sports club (Club) may be organ­ised as an asso­ci­a­tion or a com­pa­ny. In Ser­bia Clubs are pre­dom­i­nant­ly organ­ised as asso­ci­a­tions of cit­i­zens; there are no state estab­lished or owned Clubs.

Under Arti­cle 36 of the Asso­ci­a­tion Act (Zakon o udružen­ji­ma), the Club, as an asso­ci­a­tion, is a civ­il enti­ty that may acquire assets in own­er­ship. The legal form of asso­ci­a­tion allows a Club to acquire own­er­ship over sta­di­ums and oth­er sup­port­ing facil­i­ties.

The Pri­vati­sa­tion Act stip­u­lates that the sub­ject of the pri­vati­sa­tion process may be state (pre­vi­ous­ly social) prop­er­ty.

The great­est atten­tion is drawn to the pri­vati­sa­tion of the two most suc­cess­ful sport clubs in Ser­bia: FC Red Star and FC Par­ti­zan; how­ev­er, not because of their val­ue as a brand, but for the fact that their sports facil­i­ties are sit­u­at­ed in very attrac­tive loca­tions in Bel­grade, where the land price has reached astro­nom­i­cal fig­ures. These two Clubs already own the sta­di­ums and oth­er facil­i­ties and, there­fore, own­er­ship of these facil­i­ties may not be the sub­ject of pri­vati­sa­tion since it is not state but pri­vate prop­er­ty.

This actu­al­ly means that the Sports Act man­i­fests pre­ten­sions of the state to car­ry out “pri­vati­sa­tion of pri­vate prop­er­ty”. If it comes to this, instead of pri­vati­sa­tion, usurpa­tion of Club prop­er­ty will occur. This would be a direct vio­la­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion­al right to pri­vate prop­er­ty.

In these par­tic­u­lar cas­es, only the land where the sports facil­i­ties are built can be the object of pri­vati­sa­tion. This land is owned by the state. Under cur­rent Ser­bian reg­u­la­tions, although this land is a part of the Club’s prop­er­ty, only the Club has the right to use it with­out the own­er­ship title. The pri­vati­sa­tion of this part of the Club’s prop­er­ty should be con­duct­ed through the con­ver­sion of the right to use to a right of own­er­ship. But the Sports Act does not pro­vide such a solu­tion.

Change of legal form

Arti­cle 55 para­graph 1 of the Ser­bian Con­sti­tu­tion guar­an­tees free­dom of asso­ci­a­tion. Mem­bers of the Club, exer­cis­ing this free­dom, estab­lished the Club as an asso­ci­a­tion and have the right to remain its mem­bers as long as they wish. This right can­not be denied by the state. The inher­it­ed legal form of the Club will be the start­ing point (basis) for the change of legal form, respect­ing the right of mem­bers to freely choose their desired legal form. Impos­ing the choice of legal form by the state would be a breach of the Con­sti­tu­tion. The free will of the mem­bers expressed in the assem­bly is of cru­cial impor­tance for the future sta­tus of the Clubs.

Conclusion

The prin­ci­pal goals of the pri­vati­sa­tion of sport clubs are (i) increase of eco­nom­ic effi­cien­cy; (ii) inflow of fresh cap­i­tal; (iii) changes in the own­er­ship struc­ture; and (iv) sta­bil­i­ty. For Ser­bian sports, the most appro­pri­ate solu­tion for pri­vati­sa­tion of sport clubs would be the Span­ish mod­el, accord­ing to which 38 bas­ket­ball and 40 foot­ball clubs were pri­va­tised. Pre­cise­ly, clubs should be trans­formed from asso­ci­a­tions to joint stock com­pa­nies and spe­cial rules should be imple­ment­ed for Red Star and Par­ti­zan – sim­i­lar to Real Madrid and Barcelona, where no nat­ur­al or legal per­son can own 100% of the shares and for­eign­ers are not allow to hold a major­i­ty stake.

As one of the fastest growing industries, sports currently makes up 3% of total world trade.

Privatizacija sportskih klubova u Srbiji i statusne promene

U septembru 2013. godine, prvi potpredsednik Vlade Republike Srbije pozvao je na hitnu privatizaciju sportskih klubova, koja je po svoj prilici bez pravnog osnova.

Uvod

U Evropi sport gener­iše obrt od 400 mil­i­jar­di evra odnos­no 3.7% bru­to nacionalnog proizvo­da EU i zapošl­ja­va 5.4% radne snage. Kao jed­na od najveće ras­tućih privred­nih grana današn­jice, sport čini 3% ukup­ne svetske trgovine. Najus­pešni­ji klubovi današn­jice orga­ni­zo­vani su i poslu­ju kao prof­itne orga­ni­zaci­je.

U Srbi­ji sport je od izuzetnog znača­ja što potvrđu­je i sam Ustav Repub­like Srbi­je koji ga prokla­mu­je kao društvenu vred­nost o kojoj se stara drža­va, ure­đu­jući i obezbeđu­jući sis­tem rada. Demokratske promene   2000.  godine u  Srbi­ji, dovele su do potrebe za pri­b­liža­van­jem i pri­lagođa­van­jem evrop­skim stan­dard­i­ma u svim aspek­ti­ma društvenog funkcionisan­ja, pa tako i u sportu.

Radi usaglaša­van­ja sa evrop­skim stan­dard­i­ma i vred­nos­ti­ma neophod­na je pri­va­ti­zaci­ja sport­skih klubo­va. Zakon o sportu, koji je stu­pio na snagu u aprilu 2011. godine, otvara mno­ga kon­traverz­na pitan­ja, među koji­ma su i pri­va­ti­zaci­ja i prav­na for­ma sport­skih klubo­va.

Privatizacija

Pre­ma članu 31. Zakona o sportu, pro­fe­sion­al­ni sport­s­ki klub (Klub) može se osno­vati kao udružen­je ili kao privred­no društ­vo. Klubovi su u Srbi­ji uglavnom osno­vani kao udružen­ja građana; ne pos­to­ji Klub čiji je osni­vač ili vlas­nik drža­va.

Pre­ma članu 36. Zakona o udružen­ji­ma, Klub kao udružen­je je građan­sko pravno lice koje stiče sred­st­va i svo­jinu. Prav­na for­ma udružen­ja građana omoguća­va Klubu da stiče pra­vo svo­jine nad sta­dion­i­ma i ostal­im pratećim objek­ti­ma.

Zakon o pri­va­ti­zaci­ji pred­viđa da pred­met pri­va­ti­zaci­je može biti držav­na (rani­je društve­na) svo­ji­na.

Najveću pažn­ju privlači pri­va­ti­zaci­ja dva najus­pešni­ja sport­s­ka klu­ba u Srbi­ji: FK Crve­na zvez­da i FK Par­ti­zan, ali ne zbog nji­hove vred­nos­ti kao bren­da, već zbog čin­jenice da se nji­hovi sport­s­ki objek­ti nalaze na veo­ma atrak­tivn­im lokaci­ja­ma u cen­tru Beogra­da, gde cena zemljiš­ta dostiže astronomske iznose. Ova dva Klu­ba već su vlas­ni­ci sta­diona i drugih objeka­ta, pa samim tim svo­ji­na na nave­den­im objek­ti­ma ne može biti pred­met pri­va­ti­zaci­je jer nije držav­na, već pri­vat­na.

To zapra­vo znači da Zakon o sportu ispol­ja­va pre­ten­z­i­ju da sprovede “pri­va­ti­zaci­ju pri­vatne svo­jine”. Uko­liko do toga dođe, umesto pri­va­ti­zaci­je uslediće uzur­paci­ja klupske imovine. Time bi bilo direk­t­no narušeno Ustavom garan­to­vano pra­vo na pri­vat­nu svo­jinu.

U ovakvim sluča­je­vi­ma, pred­met pri­va­ti­zaci­je može biti samo zemljište na kojem su izgrađeni sport­s­ki objek­ti. To zemljište je u državnoj svo­ji­ni. Pre­ma važećim propisi­ma Repub­like Srbi­je, iako to zemljište ulazi u sas­tav imovine Klu­ba, Klub na nje­mu ima samo pra­vo korišćen­ja a ne pra­vo svo­jine. Pri­va­ti­zaci­ja ovog dela imovine Klu­ba, sprov­ela bi se kroz kon­verz­i­ju pra­va korišćen­ja u pra­vo svo­jine. Među­tim, Zakon o sportu ne pred­viđa tak­vo rešen­je.

Statusne promene

Odred­bom člana 55. stav 1. Usta­va Repub­like Srbi­je zajemče­na je slo­bo­da udruži­van­ja. Članovi Klu­ba, ost­varu­jući ovu slo­bo­du, osno­vali su Klub kao udružen­je i ima­ju pra­vo da ostanu nje­govi članovi koliko žele. To pra­vo im drža­va ne može uskrati­ti. Nasleđeni sta­tus klu­ba mora biti polaz­na osno­va za sta­tus­nu trans­for­ma­ci­ju, uz poš­to­van­je pra­va članst­va da slo­bod­no bira žel­jenu pravnu for­mu. Nametan­je sta­tusa znači­lo bi kršen­je Ustavne kat­e­gori­je. Slo­bod­na vol­ja člano­va, izraže­na u odlu­ci skupš­tine, od ključnog je znača­ja za budući sta­tus Klu­ba.

Zaključak

Osnovni cil­je­vi pri­va­ti­zaci­je sport­skih klubo­va su (i) povećan­je ekonomske efikas­nos­ti; (ii) priliv svežeg kap­i­ta­la; (iii) promene vlas­ničke struk­ture; i (iv) sta­bil­nost. Najprik­lad­ni­je rešen­je za pri­va­ti­zaci­ju sport­skih klubo­va u Srbi­ji bio bi špan­s­ki mod­el, po kome je uspešno pri­va­ti­zo­vano preko 38 košarkašk­ih i 40 fud­bal­skih klubo­va. Potreb­na je trans­for­ma­ci­ja klubo­va iz sta­tusa udružen­ja u akcionars­ka društ­va, kao i pri­me­na speci­jal­nih nor­mi na klubove Crve­na Zvez­da i Par­ti­zan koja važe za Real Madrid i Barcelonu, po koji­ma ne može ni jed­no fiz­ičko ili pravno lice biti vlas­nik 100% akci­ja i koje ne dop­uš­ta­ju da stran­ci ima­ju većin­s­ki paket akci­ja.

Kao jedna od najveće rastućih privrednih grana današnjice, sport čini 3% ukupne svetske trgovine.