Defying the latest predictions and warnings, the U.K. has decided to leave the European Union, and the implications of such a decision will be huge, impacting almost every aspect of Brits’ lives, including their beloved football &mash; or "soccer" to those west of the pond!
Last week, Richard Scudamore, the executive chairman of the Premier League — the British football league — was on BBC Radio 5 Live, expanding why the League (unofficially) supported the “Stay” stance. According to Scudamore, being open to the world is critical to the success of the Premier League.
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“We do business around the world, we trade with the world,” he explained. So, leaving the EU “doesn't seem to sit very well when you travel the world like we do being welcomed because of the fact that we are open for business, open for discussion, and open for cooperation,” he concluded.
The PL After The Brexit
Following the announcement that the “Leave” option had prevailed in the referendum, the Premier League issued a statement on Friday. While the organization assured that the League would continue to be largely successful and internationally appealing, they pointed out the “uncertain nature of what the political and regulatory landscape might by following the ‘Leave’ vote.”
“There is little point in second guessing the implications until there is greater clarity. Clearly, we will work with the government and other bodies whatever the outcome of any process,” the League assured.
However, one thing is for sure: The way in which players are traded and taken to the U.K. will see some major changes. For instance, European ballers wanted on the Premier League will need a work permit in order to play, just like if they came from any other place on earth. Now, the thing is, getting a visa to work as a football player in the U.K. is not easy.
“For example a non-EU player from a nation ranked inside FIFA’s top 10 has to have played at least 30 percent of national team games in the two years prior to applying for a work permit to be able to play professionally in the UK. The lower ranked his national team, the higher percentage of games he has to play,” an NBC Sports article explicated. This means that players like N'Golo Kante, Dimitri Payet and Anthony Martial, would not be able to play in the Premier League under new regulations, even in spite of their EU passports — which enabled them to play when the U.K. was still a part of the Union.
"We're talking about half of the Premier League needing work permits,” football agent Rachel Anderson stated recently. "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,” she continued.
Agreeing with Anderson, agent Simon Bayliff added, "The downside could be the value of the Premier League decreasing, as its attraction is the collection of foreign stars across many clubs.”
The Problem In Numbers
The BBC has calculated that, among the more than 400 EU players registered in the Premier League, up to 100 do not meet the requisites for a work permit, and thus, could become ineligible to play in the U.K. Furthermore, this figure rises to more than 430 if the English Championship and Scottish Championship are taken into account.
Of course, rules and parameters for work permits could change, or maybe, teams could start hiring only eligible players, becoming more attractive to foreign investors. Only time will tell; but, right now, fans are certainly worried.
Disclosure: Javier Hasse holds no positions in any of the securities mentioned above.
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