How leaving the EU will affect football and player

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Britain has decided to leave the EU – but what impact will the historic result have on our football teams?

Aston Villa, Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers have squads packed with EU players.

Villa’s squad for the 2015/16 season had 13 players from the EU, Blues had six, West Brom three and Wolves eight.

What’s the immediate knock-on effect for foreign players here?

The rules are quite complicated because the Premier league, Football League and the Football Association have negotiated special deals with the Government for players outside the EU.

This all depends on the number of games players have played for their national team in competitive matches over the last two years and the FIFA ranking of the country.

What’s the current rule?

The current rule for non EU players Is that if you have a player from a country with a ranking of 50 in the world they must have played a minimum of 60 per cent of games.

If you try to sign a player from say Brazil, the requirement of games is much lower, at around 30 per cent, because the country’s ranking will be much higher.

A player from Nigeria who has never played for their national team would under current rules find it almost impossible to get a work permit.

Belgium have very different rules to us.

Kolo Toure did not meet work permit requirements when Arsenal first tried to sign him.

He was parked in Belgium so he could play there and build up his experience.

Because of his time in Belgium he was allowed to then sign for Arsenal.

Clubs have acquired talent by parking players in Europe, but that will not be possible any more.

There were fairly rigorous regulations in place already.

It’s not just the likes of Victor Wanyama who will feel some uncertainty, it’s managers as well.

Claudio Ranieri and Roberto Di Matteo to name just two.

What about work permits for players from EU countries?

It’s a massive change.

Right now the issue is around work permits, but we simply don’t know what’s going to happen when it comes to players and work permits.

The Government will have to tell us what the new rules will be.

The Premier League worked with the Government on the current work permit rules.

I envisage the Premier League, the Football Association and the Government striking a special where exemptions are given.

Those talks will have huge consequences on clubs in Britain.

How many British based players could technically be deported?

A recent study found that between 300 and 400 players from EU countries in the top two divisions in England and Scotland would fail the current work permit requirments.

These include players like Leicester’s N’Golo Kante and West Ham’s Dimitri Payet.

I’m not expecting them to be deported any time soon.

It’s only when you mention players of that stature that it hits home to some people have big an impact this could have.

In theory, the Government could begin to deport players, there’s nothing to stop Britain now.

This decision enables the British Government to do what it wants to do.

But they could deport players.

It’s extremely unlikely, but it’s a possibility.

The Leave campaign say there will be an amnesty so players here won’t just be sent home.

For the player, there is though a period of uncertainty and issues around whether they can stay here or not in the long-term.

Having said all of that, the Premier League is a huge global entity and I don’t envisage the Government undermining the competitive advantage of British clubs when football is so valuable to the British economy.

What effect will the British pound’s current devaluation have on the transfer market?

The pound has plummeted to a 30-year low.

The transfer window opens soon and British clubs will suddenly be at a disadvantage.

Whatever clubs were paying players is now worth ten per cent less.

So in terms of signing players, players will go elsewhere unless British clubs can find the extra money from within their budgets or maybe the TV rights money that comes into play.

Clubs are going to have to do something fairly dramatic to compete effectively with clubs in other countries in the transfer window.

It’s not looking to the future, what we know right now is that what our clubs pay footballers from other countries has been suddenly undermined by the fall of the pound.

I’m not saying we’ve got a result that decides people’s employment status it’s what has happened.

Wages to foreign players had ten per cent of its value taken away.

This is the short-term effect.

What Villa now pay Di Matteo and Jordan Veretout is now worth less than what it was 24 hours ago.

Brexit won’t really affect non-EU players?

There’s no change for non-EU players.

It’s the same as previously for them, but a much bigger issue is we here the Leave campaign say it will negotiate special deals with Commonwealth countries.

Might we see more players from Commonwealth countries like Nigeria, Jamaica and Australia playing in the Premier League and English football?

English football remains a global entity.

We might see the geographic composition of the leagues change so there’s not so many European players, but more from Commonwealth countries.

We simply don’t know until the deals are negotiated and we don’t know when that will be.

What about the Bosman ruling and freedom of movement?

Bosman is a European Union ruling and is held up as the reason why the Premier League has grown and developed as it has.

In theory Bosman no longer applies.

The Webster ruling and Kolpak ruling means we’ll still see some freedom of movement.

When all the deals are done the nature of the football transfer market is that we’ll probably see the same freedom of movement.

There will be other regulations beyond Bosman that will still be in force and have the same impact as Bosman.

How will Brexit be received by the Premier League and Football League?

Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said earlier this week he was in favour of remaining so this is obviously not what the Premier League was looking for.

It’s not just a bunch of guys who like football, it’s a global business and I’m sure the Premier League have a particular strategy in mind to go to the Government with.

And that will be the same for the Football League by and large.

People in football have said nothing about Brexit.

This is a reflection of two things.

That the football authorities have a very good relationship with the Government and that will be huge in terms of what happens next.

The other thing is clubs did not want to alienate their fan base by saying yes or no.

 

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