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Brexit may damage Premier League´s pursuit of young European players

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union could make it more difficult for the Premier League to attract top European prospects at a younger age, an expert in sports law has claimed. 

The British public voted to leave the EU on Thursday in a decision that has already had a significant impact on global financial markets.

With the Premier League relying heavily on transfers from European leagues, questions have been asked about the effect on a division widely regarded as the most competitive in the world. 

And Carol Couse, who works for Mills and Reeve LLP, feels the loss of a current exception in FIFA regulations could see the Premier League lose out on younger talent to its continental rivals.

She told Omnisport: “As things stand EU nationals don’t need work permits, non-EU nationals do. That means they need to comply with certain criteria, ranging from playing 30 per cent of the games for their national team to 75 per cent of their national team games over a period of two years, or one year if the player is younger than 21.

“If those sort of criteria are applied to EU nationals, then that may make things more difficult for Premier League clubs to attract the talent they have now.

“A bigger picture is that the majority of top players that play with Premier League clubs are probably able to comply with the work permit criteria. There’s going to be a small proportion that may not be able to comply with that criteria and they may go to other EU countries rather than the UK. It’s going to depend on what the work permit criteria is going forward.

“The Premier League will try to use its influence in negotiations with the Home Office to try and ensure that the regulations aren’t unduly onerous to prevent EU players coming in. One of the more indirect impacts of ‘Brexit’ might be the devaluation of the pound and this summer may see a bit of pressure from European competitors when signing players, in the event that there is that sort of budgetary constraint for Premier League clubs.

“This is the first season of the big TV deal, when we’re looking at an £8billion-pound, three-year TV deal. The clubs may be ok to cope with any devaluation of the pound that comes along.

“The real impact of Brexit could be the loss of the article 19 exception. This is a provision in the FIFA regulations that allows EU nationals within the EU or the EEA [European Economic Area] to move between the ages of 16 and 18.

“So obviously in the event that we’re neither a member of the EU or the EEA, then there’s a loss of that advantage of bringing those young promising players in at the age of 16, whereas clearly the European competitors may be able to recruit the players at that age and capture that talent at a younger age.”

Fri 24 Jun, 2016
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