PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS fear a post-Brexit triple whammy in the transfer market.
Big Ben won’t be chiming, but alarm bells are ringing over what Britain’s departure from the EU on Friday, the last day of the current window, will mean for the most-watched league in the world.
Bong! The Football Association wants to increase the quota of homegrown players in top-flight squads from eight to 12.
Bong! British clubs will lose out to European rivals for young talent from the continent because of Fifa regulations about signing players under 18.
Bong! And it will be almost impossible for overseas players to qualify as homegrown, as stars like Cesc Fabregas and Paul Pogba have done.
Talks between the football authorities and government are finally stepping up a gear, with the clock ticking before the UK adopts a new points-based immigration system from next January.
But sources say the Premier League and FA remain a long way from agreement.
Insiders believe the uncertainty may lead to British clubs going on a European shopping spree this summer, when the current rules are set to remain in place as part of the transition period.
It will be the last chance to stock up on European talent without restriction and younger players will be in particular demand.
The FA sees Brexit as an opportunity to increase opportunities for England-qualified players.
The governing body’s proposal is to allow clubs to sign European and non-EU players under the same criteria, which would be less strict than the current rules for non-EU players.
But in return they want to stop the number of overseas players increasing from the current level of about 260 – which works out at 13 per top-flight club, hence the plan for 12 spaces in each 25-man squad to be reserved for homegrown players.
The Premier League opposes any increase in the homegrown quota and believes the FA plans would also drive up the cost of both English and overseas players.
That consequence, the PL argues, would favour the richer clubs and so undermine the competitive balance of the league.
Whatever the revised rules turn out to be, Brexit WILL make it more difficult for British clubs to recruit the best young European players – and all but impossible for them to qualify as homegrown for quota purposes.
Fifa forbids international transfers for players under the age of 18, apart from in exceptional circumstances.
But the world governing body grants an exemption to European clubs because, under EU law, footballers and other workers as young as 16 are allowed to move across national borders.
To qualify as homegrown for the purposes of English clubs under Uefa rules, a player must spend three years in the youth set-up of an English club before they turn 21.
That’s how Fabregas, who joined Arsenal at 16, was classified as homegrown during his spells at Arsenal AND Chelsea – despite being Spanish.
Manchester United midfielder Pogba, a World Cup winner with France, Chelsea’s Danish defender Andreas Christensen and Hector Bellerin, Arsenal’s Spanish full back, are current examples.
But Fifa is showing no signs of being willing to give UK clubs special treatment and as things stand they will not be able to freely recruit 16- and 17-year-old European players after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31.
So Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich will be free to hoover up the best teenage talent in Europe without competition from the moneybags Premier League.
And the Europeans aged 18 and up that British clubs do sign will not have time to qualify as homegrown.
An FA spokesperson said: “The FA has proposed a pragmatic post-Brexit solution to Premier League clubs.
“The FA believes in increasing access, but preventing an increase in current numbers of overseas players, would benefit all of English football.”
A Premier League spokesperson said: “We agree with the FA that no part of Brexit should damage the England team’s prospects or the success of the Premier League.
“We have been discussing this issue with the FA and we will continue to work together to achieve an outcome which enhances the appeal of the Premier League, while ensuring the best homegrown talent continues to thrive and improve.”
The EFL wants a 92-club solution that increases opportunities for homegrown players aged under 21 in its competition. A spokesman said:
“The EFL is engaging with the FA and Premier League on this complex issue which has potential implications across the game and it remains our ambition to achieve workable solutions for the benefit of all.”
This post written by Dan King originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.