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19th November 2018

Brexit: the threat to the transfer market and competitive balance of the Premier League

Sam McGonigle takes a look at how Brexit could cause massive changes to the Premier League.
Brexit: the threat to the transfer market and competitive balance of the Premier League
Photo: Flickr @Duncan Hull

As Britain heads towards an exit from the EU in March, we’re still none the wiser about the possible future for the United Kingdom.

The Premier League is clearly wary of the potential impact of Brexit, with the fear that tough, new regulations on signing players from the EU could limit the talent that clubs can access.

In the current system, clubs are free to sign any player from a country residing in the European Economic Area (EEA) as part of the of freedom-of-movement laws, yet there are strict rules governing the players they are able to sign from outside the EEA.

Essentially, to sign a non-EU national, they must appear regularly for a country in the top 60 of the world rankings, or command a transfer fee or wages exceeding the median paid by Premier League clubs the previous year, to suggest they are an exceptional talent.

The Premier League’s greatest concern is that these rules could now be extended to all European players, obstructing clubs’ ability to recruit from the continent. For the clubs outside the big six, who are much more likely to sign players who do not otherwise meet the work permit criteria, they will undoubtedly suffer.

These regulations would call into question the competitive balance of the Premier League and instil the already established elite, making the likelihood of another Leicester title miracle almost impossible.

The Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has criticised the decision to leave the European Union. The Argentine compared Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union to a car crash and says that the uncertainty should prompt the Government to consider pausing March’s scheduled exit.

In this summer’s transfer window, Tottenham became the first Premier League club not to buy a single player since the window’s introduction in 2003.

Pochettino believes the price of delivering the new White Hart Lane, which has increased owing to the fall in the value of the pound, is one of the factors that have stopped him adding to his squad.

Talking about the current investments, Pochettino stated “What the club is doing is so brave… building a new training ground was a massive investment, the stadium is nearly £1bn. And then with Brexit it’s worse, as the cost is 30% more. That is a drama too. I feel sorry for the English people.”

However, the Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has had little to say about the consequences of leaving the EU and rather chose to congratulate the United Kingdom, saying “the thing that I admire most about England is that… you have all been able to vote,”. The former Barcelona coach is seemingly approving of the British democratic system.

Guardiola is known for his personal views on Catalonia and has always remained a vocal proponent of support for the imprisoned activists and politicians campaigning for Catalan Independence.

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