Premier League clubs will find it harder to poach Barcelona youngsters after Brexit

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While the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union could negatively affect Real Madrid - Gareth Bale is now poised to become the club’s fourth non-EU player - the news might be greeted more positively by officials at FC Barcelona.

The Catalan giants have had several of their most talented teenagers poached by Premier League clubs over the years - Gerard Pique, Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin all come to mind - but that could now become a thing of the past now the UK has voted in favour of Brexit.

This is according to the Catalan newspaper Sport, who understand that the flow of players under the age of 18 who are bound for the Premier League will be stemmed by the referendum result.


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The report continues: “Article 19 of the FIFA 'Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players' regulates this practice and will aim to protect these youngsters.

“The statutes explain that ‘international transfers of players are only permitted if the player reaches the age of 18 years’. However, there are three exceptions that allow a deal to occur (in advance):

“1) If the player's parents change their residence to the country where the new club is located for non-football reasons.

“2) The player lives in a home within a distance of 50 kilometres of the national border and the club of the neighbouring association is also within a distance of 50km from the same border in the that said country.

“3) The transfer takes place within the territory of the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA) and the player is aged between 16 and 18 years old (Premier League clubs are no longer covered by this exception).”

Barcelona starlets often stay if they're good enough

Premier League clubs may find it more difficult to lure potential stars from La Masia to England with the UK poised to leave the EU.

However, as has always been the case, the most gifted players from La Masia will usually be handed opportunities to establish themselves as first-team regulars at the Camp Nou.

Fabregas and Pique wouldn’t have originally left Barcelona if they felt their chances of breaking into the first team were better at the time, and both players eventually returned to the club.

Bellerin, meanwhile, may also decide to return to Barcelona one day - although for now the Spanish full-back insists he’s happy at Arsenal.

How will Brexit affect top-level football? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

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