New Brexit rules cut young player imports in favour of homegrown talent

By Andrew Warshaw

December 2 – Radical post-Brexit plans over the freedom – or lack of it – of players have been announced by English football authorities with overseas imports having to qualify in future through a points-based system when the transition period ends on December 31.

Players will be assessed based on senior and youth international appearances, club appearances and the quality of the selling club and its league.

Only those players accumulating the necessary number of points will earn a work permit automatically while after Brexit, British clubs will only be allowed to sign foreign players over the age of 18 and will be limited six under-21 players per season.

“Post-Brexit, clubs will not be able to sign players freely from the EU,”  a statement said.

Partly designed to help encourage clubs produce more homegrown talent, the so-called Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) plan was submitted to the government last month and will come into effect from  January 1 in time for the next transfer window.

The agreement brings to an end four years of talks between the Football Association  and Premier League over squad limitations in the post-Brexit era and both sides are fighting their corner.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters insisted the deal would have no effect on the quality of his league. “Continuing to be able to recruit the best players will see the Premier League remain competitive and compelling and the solution will complement our player development philosophy of the best foreign talent alongside the best homegrown players,” he argued.

His counterpart at the FA, Mark Bullingham, added:  “Despite having different starting perspectives on how Brexit should impact football, this is another example of how the football authorities can work effectively together for the greater good of the game.”

In effect it could work both ways. While the limitations on signings from abroad will hopefully put an end to the loathed practise of stockpiling players by cash-rich clubs, as well as potentially improving the development of homegrown talent, the arrangements could end up strongly favouring the top Continental clubs in terms of snapping up Europe’s most promising stars at a young age.

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