The vote, by the British people, to leave the EU on Thursday has left more uncertainty than Ivan Perisic’s next haircut. A falling pound and resignations left, right and centre has brought into question the future of almost everything from Freddos to Ryanair flights. But what about the constant in all of our lives, how will Brexit affect football in this country?
Firstly, leaving the EU will mean freedom of movement throughout Europe will be restricted. It is likely, therefore, that players being signed from Europe will have to apply for a work permit.
This wouldn’t be an issue for the likes of Mesut Ozil or David Silva, for example. However, players who have not represented their national teams would almost certainly see their potential transfers blocked.
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N’Golo Kante has been a name going around as someone who would not meet the Home Office specific criteria. Without him, Leicester probably wouldn’t have won the league and we wouldn’t have had all the jokes about him covering the earth’s land mass. Perhaps the latter is less of a disappointment, but the Premier League would certainly be a sadder place without him.
Despite this, the absence of Kante may have allowed from one of Leicester’s own homegrown talents to shine in their inaugural title winning season.
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The Premier League would most likely become a blend of huge international talents, who could gain a work permit and English academy products. This could potentially cause lopsided squads with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Jonjo Shelvey on the same team. Just to clarify, this is a hypothetical example so don’t start spreading rumours United fans.
This may be ideal for the future of the Premier League but for English football, it could be a master stroke. More domestic players playing in the domestic league can surely only be a good thing for the national team. Take Spain as an example, a huge amount of Spanish players play in La Liga and they have had the most successful national side of the past decade. This is not purely a coincidence.
The current FIFA regulations given for transfers involving 16 and 17-year-olds within the EU will, most likely, disappear from the Premier League with Brexit.
This will prevent teams like Chelsea purchasing foreign players for their academy who will then either be released or loaned out to Vitesse in the future. Instead, we will have English players who are either released or loaned to Vitesse in the future. Or maybe Crewe instead because they won’t be able to get a work permit to play in Vitesse.
Joking aside, the Under 18 and Under 21 Premier League’s will become competitions purely for English players and it will be those players who will gradually work their way into the senior sides.
Who knows, in the future, a Chelsea team may line up with a starting XI all of whom were made in Chelsea. If you’ll pardon the pun. Once again, this can only be a positive thing for Roy Hodgson to work with if he’s still in charge by then.
As with anything Brexit related at the moment, this is all very much up in the air. It may be that the British government renegotiates the special dispensations for EU sportsmen working over here.
If not, we could be seeing a new dawn to English football reflecting what many have been hoping for: An English League, showcasing English players.
To quote Nigel Farage *shudders*, Friday could be English football’s “independence day.”