SPORTS LAW AT THE CROSSROADS

Quotas: Premier League rejects FA’s Brexit proposal on foreign players

November 22 – The Premier League is opposing a post-Brexit proposal by the English Football Association limiting the number of non-homegrown players clubs can include in their senior squads.

Earlier this month, with Brexit deals for the formal separation of the UK from Europe in full debate, the FA entered the fray with a proposal for measures which are seen as a way to give more opportunity to home-grown talent and would see the overall squad total of foreign players reduced from 17 to 12.

But the Premier League say there is “no evidence” that placing further restrictions on foreign players would improve England teams.

The Premier League, English Football League and Scottish Premier League say they are in agreement that Brexit should not be used “to weaken playing squads in British football, nor to harm clubs’ ability to sign international players”.

A statement from the Premier League stressed a consensus for the status quo. Currently non-European players require Governing Body Endorsement (GBE), meaning a number of African, Asian and South American talents have failed to get work permits. A no-deal scenario would see GBE applied for European players as well.

But the Premier League argued: “We currently operate rules that limit the number of non-homegrown players clubs can have in senior squads, while also working with clubs to operate a world-leading player development system which delivers for England teams at every level.

“This was demonstrated by the many Premier League club academy and senior players whom FA coaches moulded so well into U17 and U20 FIFA World Cup winners and men’s FIFA 2018 World Cup semi-finalists.

“There is no evidence that stronger quotas than exist now would have a positive impact on national teams. We approach this matter in the interests of British football as a whole and have held positive discussions with the EFL and the Scottish Professional Football League, who both agree that Brexit should not be used to weaken playing squads in British football, nor to harm clubs’ ability to sign international players.

“The three league bodies also recognise that the development pathway for young British players needs to be further enhanced and are committed to finding ways of achieving this across all professional clubs.”

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