A new problem looms over the English Premier League and it’s quite unpalatable. Brexit. Yes, who would have thought that political bickering may actually affect the EPL. But it is and the problem is becoming ever more pronounced with each day that passes by.
FIFA Says No to Sub-18 Transfers
The facts are quite simple right now. Brexit will make it nearly impossible for English clubs to get young talented players from European clubs or countries. Up until now, there was a FIFA waiver, allowing 16-17-year-old players to actually come to Britain and compete for English clubs. The waiver, though, only applies to countries that are part of the European Economic Area.
Come Brexit and the United Kingdom will no longer be part of this agreement, which is bad news for everyone involved. The fortunes of English football may be finally changing.
Of course, you may argue that after a player is of the legal age, they may still join the competition, but this is one or two years wasted when the said player hasn’t been able to play with a football club.
Most English teams like to pluck the professionals and promising talent as early as they can. However, with the Brexit crisis overhead, such a strategy may no longer be applicable. Currently, FIFA’s rules forbid players under the age of 18 to be joining foreign teams.
There are many reasons for this trend to be ongoing, too.
What Can Be Done to Better the Fortunes of the Teams?
At this point FIFA will need to revise Article 19 for any English team to stand a true shot at getting its fortunes slightly better. However, this is also unlikely to happen. Making waivers for single countries would be against FIFA’s own rules and given how the body underwent a series of scandals over corruption.
Risking to see themselves as corrupt top-nobs, FIFA will clearly back out of this one. Of course, immigration specialists have already said that they will look into the issue, but it’s unlikely to find a solution to what appears to be a seriously pressing problem.
What could the repercussions be for teas, then? Deprived from talent, some clubs will struggle and have a more difficult time attracting top-players later on. Especially after the said players have already got hands-on experience and prefer to stay with their teams outside the United Kingdom.
Another thing that will affect the EPL is viewership interest. It’s likely to see a subsiding interest in the numbers as spectators may opt to follow their own favorite representatives rather than sticking with the EPL where their favorite footballers are not to be seen.
Of course, this is still not too threatening a scenario, but the facts remain – it will be difficult for the EPL to really get back on its feet insofar as young recruitments are concerned. Of course, Brexit will happen, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways around it.
The United Kingdom may indeed push to re-apply as well. And even the worse effects of Brexit, though, will take a few years to show in the very least.
Big World Sports has reached out to sports immigration experts. Please stay tuned to the topic as we will be updating the subject next week.