Phil Wilson

Fighting for the issues that matter most to you

Football and the EU: the implications of leaving

Thought this season had been bad for North East Premier League teams Newcastle and Sunderland? Research shows Brexit could detriment the clubs even further, as both would face the potential loss of at least 8 players if voters choose to leave the EU.


Voting to leave the EU could affect over 100 players in the English Premier League.

Football agent Rachel Anderson told the BBC “Leaving the EU will have a much bigger effect on football than people think.”

“We’re talking about half of the Premier League needing work permits.”

She admits “The short-term impact would be huge”.

Currently, players with an EU passport are free to play in the UK, those without however must meet Home Office criteria. This includes the player being an established international, for a leading nation.

Leaving the EU could mean non-British EU players would have to meet these standards to obtain a visa to play football for a club in the UK. These changes could radically change English and Scottish football.

In the first two tiers in England and the Scottish Premiership, 332 players would fail to meet current standards.

Staggeringly, only 23 of the non-British EU players in the Championship would meet the current criteria, and none of the 53 non-British EU players in the Scottish Premiership would qualify for a permit due to their international career.

West Ham vice-chair Karren Brady, and face of the Stronger In campaign has already written to club bosses across the country reminding them of the ‘devastating consequences’ Brexit could have on British football.

The Premier League boss has also made it clear that in his personal view Britain should remain in the EU, but public position of the Premier League is that EU membership is a matter for voters.


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