How Could Brexit Affect English Football?

Elephants painted with flags of France and England (R) perform to celebrate the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, as hundreds of people watch along the Khaosan tourist street, in Bangkok June 13, 2014. The performance was part of an event arranged by the Khaosan Road business association in a bid to boost tourism under the current curfew, according to the association. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom (THAILAND - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP TRAVEL ANIMALS) - RTR3TL0X

REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom

The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Brexit for short) is a possibility this year as England go to the polls to decide on whether to stay or completely leave the European Union (EU). Although, the national sides of the United Kingdom and Ireland may want to be doing everything they can to remain in Europe.

A referendum will take place on the 23rd of June 2016, in which the UK will make the final decision.

“Leaving the EU will have a much bigger effect on football than people think,” said football agent Rachel Anderson in an interview with the BBC.

“We’re talking about half of the Premier League needing work permits.

“The short-term impact would be huge but you could argue it will help in the long term as it could force clubs to concentrate on home-grown talent.”

And with the European Championships coming up in France, a possible absence of the United Kingdom in the next tournament is increasingly becoming likely if the UK do vote out of the EU.

The Euro 2016 is more than just a tournament, it is a celebration of the unity and respect between nations. For many years; traditions have been shared, ties have been formed, and fans have been brought together. England, unfortunately, have never experienced the joy and jubilation of winning the European Championship; meaning that they will never achieve such a feat if they vote out of the EU.

Brexit and the Premier League.

The English Premier League is one of the most popular leagues in the world today. It generates insane amounts of revenue and brings in heavy investments form outside the UK. It has attracted viewers from across the globe, uniting the world and providing a common ground for people coming from completely different backgrounds.

The Premier League comprises of 20 clubs, in which almost 40% of the players are scouted and signed up from outside the United Kingdom. The EPL has given rise to many of football’s best, including players such as Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, and plenty of others.

The Premier League also attracts most of the Europe’s wonder kids who usually have the dream of transferring to England to start off their career and progress on from there. Even the greatest of managers have tried their tactics for clubs in the EPL, or are looking forward to it, including Carlo Ancelotti, as well as incoming Pep Guardiola, and Antonio Conte.

Current Premier League leaders, Leicester City, have a starting squad comprised of at least 7 non-British players. An incredible stat for the English club.

The impact on non-British youth players.

“The best young players are frequently scouted from around the EU and there are good numbers of EU players under 18 years of age at academies here,” said Andrew Osborne, a partner specializing in immigration at Lewis Silkin LLP, a London-based law firm – in an interview with Squawka.

“In the event that Britain leaves the EU, young players will not be able to move from the EU to English clubs under the age of 18 years and so clubs here will not have access to a significant pool of talent.

“Young players from the EU are unlikely to be able to qualify for a work permit and so, again clubs here will be limited in the players they recruit.”

Who is in danger?

Currently, players with an EU passport are free to play in the UK. But if a player does not possess an EU passport, he must meet the set requirements from the UK Home Office; the most important of which is that a player must be established internationals for leading nations.

Analysis conducted by the BBC on the first two tiers of English football found that a total of 332 players are failing to meet the current standards. A stat that proves to us the massive impact of non-British players in the English leagues.

The Rules

The rules currently imposed on the transfers of non-British players to the UK go as follows:

  • A player from a top-10 nation only has to have played in 30% of their games in the two years prior to the date of application to be granted a work permit.
  • A player from a nation ranked 11-20 must have played in 45% of international games.
  • That percentage rises to 60% for the next 10 countries, then 75% for nations ranked 31-50.
  • A vote to leave the EU would mean that players from the 27 countries still in the union would need to meet these criteria.

A hero is disguise?

With the large number of foreign players already in the Premier League, it may come as a blessing in disguise for English football. It would mean that British clubs will be forced to build up their own talent bases with home grown players, instead of just buying top talent from Europe.

It shows clearly in the performances of the England national team, just how much they lack proper and confident youth players who capable of taking the team to the next level. It is due to the fact that young English players are never given a full chance to showcase their talents or it may be that clubs have not developed their youth to their full potential, resulting in poor performances and under achievement.

“In the event of a Brexit, it is likely that the FA would be charged with meeting the Home Office to discuss the visa rules which should be applied to European players,” said Leon Farr, a solicitor at sports and entertainment-focused law firm Onside Law – in an interview with Squawka.

“However, as much as internationalism is an asset for the Premier League, it can be seen as a hindrance for the FA,” he added.

Therefore, it may aid in the development of the British youth team players; which may be exactly what the England National team need.

Brexit: Better or worse?

During the October of 2015, Premier League Chief executive Richard Scudamore discussed his views on the debate and mentioned that he would strongly suggest that the UK remain in the EU as seen from a “business perspective”.

“I believe in the free movement of goods, but when it comes to services we must be entitled, especially in the audiovisual world, to territorialism,” he said at the annual convention of the Institute of Directors (IoD) about the business of football.

Scudamore has a tough challenge ahead of him in trying to ensure the Premier League earns as much as it possibly can, for its same services.


Putting aside the economic advantages and disadvantages for the possible departure of Britain from the EU; from a footballing perspective, it is absolutely crucial that the UK remains in the EU. The Premier League has managed to produce the most outstanding talents the world has ever witnessed. If the UK were to vote out, it would mean that British football clubs would have to invest more money in building up their youth squads.

This may prove to be an agonizing wait for the fans and could lead to the dismantling of the Premier League altogether, with fans opting for other more exciting leagues.

Would you vote for or against the Brexit?

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