Brexit and Football (Part 1)

YoYo aren’t going to get involved with the politics, so as far as we’ll go will be to say that Britain’s decision to leave the EU will have profound effects on the Premier League which are only just being fully understood. We’re going to give you the breakdown of what the most significant ones are.

The majority of impact is felt by the transfer side of things. From transfers, to scouting, player registration and recruitment are all slightly different and, at worst, provide serious barriers which could impede the successful growth of Premier League teams. We’ve broken it into the most important factors.

Players are more expensive

The devaluation of the pound has increased the price of player in real terms. West Ham’s €40m pursuit of Batshuayi has, since the first bid went in on Tuesday, increased from £31m to £35m. With the revival in exchange rate unlikely to occur in the short term, this summer’s transfer window has become a lot more expensive and challenging for every team buying foreign players. As transfer fees are normally amortised over the course of the player’s contract length, it’s not just new players that are more expensive — the gradual transfer cost repayments for players has just got more expensive as well.

Michy Batshuayi has seen his price rise £4m in three days just thanks to the Pound crashing.

Players are more expensive (part 2)

Not only do players cost more to purchase, but for the foreign players who deal in euros, they are now being paid less thanks to the weak pound. This makes a move to England a lot less attractive, and increases the wage competition from clubs abroad who may not before have been able to afford it. In all likelihood, expect the net spend of English clubs to be more in the red in the coming season.

Scouting Is More Difficult

The current strategy for most elite european teams is demonstrated by Chelsea’s talent acquisition over the past decade. Identifying players around 14 or 15, the Chelsea scouting network will usually follow their development for a few years before making a preliminary move to sign them at age 16. This is when, by FIFA exemption, players are allowed to be signed up from countries within the EU/EEA. Without proper reform of these regulations, players moving to Britain would have to be above the age of 18, which will have serious implications on the popular buy low — develop — sell high strategy of current academies.

Chary Musonda, a star of Chelsea’s academy would never have been allowed to sign a contract aged 16 if post-brexit rules had applied.

Registration Would Have Serious Prerequisites

Current Home Office regulations require players transferred from outside the EU to have made a certain number of appearances for their national team. Whilst this is likely to be addressed, in its current state players such as Anthony Martial, Willian and N’Golo Kante, Dimitri Payet, David De Gea and Samir Nasri would have had serious issues completing their moves to the Premier League. So serious is this current issue that out of the top two English leagues and the Scottish Premier League, 332 players would not qualify to play.

Payet would have been one of the players who would fail to meet Home Office requirements due to not playing 75% of his National Team’s fixtures in the past two years.

Homegrown Quotas

An important part of Premier League football and squad submission for the Champions League is the number of ‘homegrown’ players that are required by UEFA for each team to consist of. These are players who have spent a certain number of years (usually 3) playing in England before the age of 18. Obviously, with the minimum age of transfer rising to 18, homegrown players would no longer be foreign — they would have to be living in the UK.

It can of course be argued that there are minor amendments that need to be agreed with the EU and between football associations and the Government to fix the problems we’ve outlined here. However, the transfers of footballers are likely to be low down on the list of priorities for whomever takes over the Prime Minister’s role, and certainly for the summer approaching there are serious obstacles for Premier League sides to negotiate before their already proposed transfer plans can be completed. The currency looks to be the most worrying problem, and judging from the quotes of some of the players, the negative speculation around the UK could make it much less attractive.

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