How Brexit Might Affect the Premier League

The world woke up today to a very different political landscape in Europe as the citizens of the United Kingdom voted in favour yesterday of leaving the European Union by a 51.9 to 48.1 percent margin.

This in turn led to UK Prime Minister David Cameron announcing that he will resign by October.

While the pound and the markets predictably took a hit, Premier League chiefs were scrambling to assure followers of the English game that either the league wouldn't suffer any ill effects or that it was  simply too early to tell.

But what are the possible ramifications of a Premier League outside of the EU?

Last season saw 432 European players registered in the top tier of English football and although those players will not necessarily have to leave their status of being able to live and work in the UK may be in question over the next two years.

Under the EU's free movement of labour laws, players can move between countries that are part of the Union, including the United Kingdom, without a work permit but with "Brexit" these players will now essentially have the same status as players from non-EU countries.

Currently, non-EU players hoping to sign for Premier League clubs have to have played in at least 30 percent of their countries international matches in the two years prior to applying for a work permit. The FIFA rankings of the countries these players are coming from can also determine whether or not their permit will be approved.

The other impact will be felt in the recruitment of young players from abroad. FIFA currently has a restriction in place that forbids players under the age of 18 from being transferred across borders.

The exception to that is that within the EU, where the age is reduced to 16. This has been beneficial to clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal who have stocked up their youth and reserve sides with 16 to 18 year olds from across Europe for often cut-rate fees.

This may very much be at an end.


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