Brexit and its possible impacts on Football

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The people of Britain on Friday voted in favor of an exit from European Union. The repercussions of this move were felt in both in the political and economic circles with Britain’s Prime Minister tendering his resignation and the global financial markets going for a ride. Even Football failed to come out of the path breaking referendum unscathed. With Britain out of EU as things stand there might be a major impact on transfer markets, foreign players as well as young players.

Foreign Players

Given that the entire argument of Brexit was based on immigrants and members of EU taking away jobs one of the major impact of the win of the leave campaign will be stringent rules for anyone seeking to work in Britain.

Footballers will be no exception as professionals before Brexit they were free to work/play in Britain or any other country part of EU without a work permit. But now with Britain’s exit, players willing to play in England will need a work permit. And here is where the problem lies. Its just not easy for a player to get the work permit if one is to go by the FA rules governing it.

As per the rules tweaked in May 2015 any player who wished to work in Britain must have played in the last two years, 30% of the matches for his international team if the team is ranked in the top 10, 45% for teams ranked 11-20 and 60% of the matches for the next 10 and a whopping 75 % for the teams ranked 31-50.

This would mean that players like Dmitri Payet, Morgan Schneiderlin, Kante, etc who were playing without any work permit will need one and when they apply they will be ineligible given the rules.

The impact of Britain leaving will also be felt in football leagues outside Britain. Clubs in Spain and Italy have a cap on the foreign players in squad but players from the European Union are not termed as foreigners but now with Britain’s exit, British players will be termed as foreigners.

In Spain a club is only allowed three foreign recruits from outside the Europe, take the case of current UEFA champions Real Madrid before the Brexit they had three foreign players in Danilio, Casemiro from Brazil and James Rodriguez Colombia. (It must be noted that there are other players from outside EU like Marcelo but given that he has spend quite some time in Spain he has been given a dual citizenship and thus is not counted among non-EU players.)

But now Gareth Bale is also a Non EU players which breaches the La Liga stipulation. So Real Madrid will have to off load one of their star players in this transfer window.

Similar circumstances prevail in Italy as well where there is a quota of only two non- EU players.

Youth Players

As it stand the future looks bleak for English players to play outside also for Foreigners to play in England unless and until they are well established players of their teams already which takes us to the issue with young players

Britain will no longer be able to have youth players from outside Britain, the rich clubs of Britain can no longer plunder the academy talent from across the Europe and will have to depend on their own youth systems. The reason being that outside the EU, they would no longer be able to benefit from the exception under the FIFA regulations given for transfers involving 16 and 17 year old footballers within the EU.

So the likes of having another Adnan Januzaj taking the Premier League by storm or Arsenal signing another Cesc Fabregas from La Masia will cease to exist.

Transfer Markets

Given that now there will be only a limited pool of players who will become eligible for playing in the Britain the prices will sure hit the roof as all the clubs will compete to sign them.

The smaller clubs will be at a disadvantage as they wont be able to compete with the big club in terms of money power.

It will surely deter the possibility of another Leicester coming up in the near future, had the current regulations be in place Mahrez or Kante would not been in the squad. Also scouting networks outside Britain will cease to exist as getting a player a work permit will be a near impossible task. Premier League being the most competitive league will be a thing of the past, it will change into an all English league with English players enjoying a premium and clubs will be reluctant to sell their home grown players both domestically as well as abroad. Add to this the free fall of Pound post the referendum will make transfer activity even more expensive. Thus Premier league will be closing door to the outside talent  which make more than 60% of the teams at present.


It may not be all bad as there has always a criticism that the reason why England fails on International stage is because of the openness of the Premier League.

Now with Brexit in place there will be a inward focus with more and more resources being dedicated towards finding and grooming young English talent than buying it cheap from other countries. This could significantly improve the England as a team.

However a caution also needs to be taken these assumptions are based on the fact that Britain parts away from EU and the larger block of European Economic Association(EEA) and applies all the regulations it had promised in case of a Brexit. However if Britain stays in EEA a lot of these conditions and rules will cease to exist and football will remain largely unimpaired.



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