The effect Brexit will have on football, the Premier League and clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and others

 
Joe Hall
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Arsenal v Newcastle United - Premier League
Premier League clubs could find it harder to buy European-based players such as Laurent Koscielny (Source: Getty)

Premier League clubs could be forced to drastically change their approach to the transfer market after Britain voted to leave the EU, with a multitude of current Premier League stars ineligible for the work permits required of non-European Economic Area players.

The free movement afforded to European Union citizens has enabled clubs to bring players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitri Payet and Cesc Fabregas to England when they would have been unable to do so under existing work permit regulations for non-Europeans.

Clubs are only permitted to sign non-EEA players who have performed in a minimum percentage of competitive matches for their country in the two years prior to their arrival.

The required percentage of minutes decreases the higher a player’s country is placed in Fifa’s world rankings — players from nations in the top 10 need only have appeared in 30 per cent or more of their nation’s games. Yet such measures could still have prevented Manchester United’s Spanish keeper David De Gea and West Ham’s French playmaker Payet from joining the Premier League, neither of whom had notched up enough international caps prior to joining in 2011 and 2014 respectively.

Read more: No, Brexit would not "drive" European Premier League footballers out of the UK

If the same protocols are applied to current EEA players in a post-Brexit world, it would pose huge ramifications for a competition which was found to have the highest percentage of expatriate players of any league in Europe’s top five leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Bundesliga) — 57 per cent.

But fans needn’t worry about their favourite European players now putting their UK homes up for sale.

“It is extremely unlikely that new regulations would be applied retrospectively, and footballers already competing in the UK should be able to keep their work permit until at least their current contracts expire,” says UK law firm Mills & Reeve.

Read more: A third of footie fans think Euro 2016 is more important than the EU referendum

Furthermore, Sheridans sports lawyer Daniel Geey has detailed the unlikelihood of EEA workers being forced to abide by the same conditions as those from other regions — especially in the short-term, as the UK embarks on potentially tortuous negotiations over its exit and extent of its future involvement with the EEA in the coming weeks.

Premier League clubs playing in Europe will also be faced with further headaches beyond longer queues at passport control.

While the Champions League elite will still boast the financial clout to attract many of Europe’s stars, just as some of the best South Americans make their way to these shores, a Brexit could cause problems in many teams’ youth recruitment and ability to meet the “home grown” quotas required by Uefa.

Buying fully formed stars from Barcelona or Bayern Munich is an expensive endeavour and Premier League clubs have avoided building up a one-sided cash flow by plucking teenagers from top European academies on the cheap.

Article 19 in Fifa’s regulations on the status and transfer of players limits international transfers to players aged over 18, unless the transfer involves EEA states in which case players aged 16 and over can be transferred.

That has enabled Arsenal to snap up Fabregas, Hector Bellerin and Jon Toral from Barcelona’s fabled La Masia academy, Manchester United to supplement their youth set-up with Adnan Januzaj and Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Chelsea to build up an army of talented European youngsters.

Without the benefit of this EU exception, teams in the Champions League and Europa League might find it harder to find the eight “club-trained” (players registered with a club for at least three seasons between the ages of 15 and 21) and “association-trained” players (those registered with a club’s national association for at least three seasons between the ages of 15 and 21) required in a 25 man squad by Uefa.

Arsenal


Arsenal signed Spain international when he was just 16 — a move only possible within the EU/EEA (Source: Getty)

​Current European players who would not have automatically met FA work permit requirements:

  • Laurent Koscielny
  • Nacho Monreal​
  • Yaya Sanogo

Players signed as teenagers who would be unable to join without EU/EEA exemption from Fifa transfer rules:

  • Hector Bellerin
  • Francis Coquelin
  • Serge Gnabry
  • Wojciech Szczesny
  • Jeff Reine-Adelaide
  • Gedion Zelalem
  • Ismael Bennacer
  • Julio Pleguezuelo
  • Kyrstian Bielik

Chelsea


Chelsea's Andreas Christensen, who joined the club as a teenager, is one of Europe's most sought-after centre-backs after he impressed on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach (Source: Getty)

​Current European players who would not have automatically met FA work permit requirements:

  • Loic Remy
  • Marco Amelia
  • Cesar Azpilicueta
  • Thibaut Courtois

Players signed as teenagers who would be unable to join without EU/EEA exemption from Fifa transfer rules:

  • Tomas Kalas
  • ​Bertrand Traore
  • Nathan Ake
  • Andreas Christensen
  • Charly Musonda
  • ​Josimar Quintero
  • Miro Muheim
  • Ali Suljic
  • Joseph Colley

​Tottenham​


Kevin Wimmer has been capped just three times for Austria (Source: Getty)

​Current European players who would not have automatically met FA work permit requirements:

  • Kevin Wimmer
  • Michel Vorm​

West Ham United


Although he is now lighting up Euro 2016 for the hosts, Payet had struggled to nail down a place in the France team before joining West Ham (Source: Getty)

​Current European players who would not have automatically met FA work permit requirements:

  • Dimitri Payet
  • Pedro Obiang
  • Angelo Ogbonna
  • Adrian

Players signed as teenagers who would be unable to join without EU/EEA exemption from Fifa transfer rules:

  • Noah Sylvestre

Manchester United


Timothy Fosu-Mensah joined Manchester United from Ajax aged 16 (Source: Getty)

​Current European players who would not have automatically met FA work permit requirements:

  • Anthony Martial
  • Ander Herrera
  • David de Gea
  • Morgan Schneiderlin

Players signed as teenagers who would be unable to join without EU/EEA exemption from Fifa transfer rules:

  • Adnan Januzaj
  • Timothy Fosu-Mensah
  • Indy Boonen​

Manchester City


Bacary Sagna had played in just 34 per cent of games for France — then ranked outside Fifa's top 10 — in the two years prior to joining City in 2014 (Source: Getty)

​Current European players who would not automatically meet FA work permit requirements:

  • Jesus Navas
  • Bacary Sagna
  • Eiaquim Mangala
  • Gael Clichy​
  • Samir Nasri

Players signed as teenagers who would be unable to join without EU/EEA exemption from Fifa transfer rules:

  • Sinan Bytyqi
  • ​Angelino
  • ​David Faupala
  • Thierry Ambrose
  • Arijane Muric
  • Zackarias Faour
  • Paolo Fernandes
  • Brahim Diaz
  • Rodney Kongolo
  • Erik Sarmiento
  • Kjetil Haug

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