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10th Aug 2018

Brexit no deal could see up to 152 Premier League players refused visas

Some clubs will suffer more than others

Reuben Pinder

It’s not looking good for Huddersfield

As the clock ticks down to March 29th 2019, the scenario of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union with no deal in place becomes increasingly likely. It’s impossible to predict what will happen in the immediate aftermath, but at least there will be “adequate food”.

Brexit will also spell trouble for the Premier League, as European players would be subject to the same work permit requirements that non-EU players currently have to comply with.

As it stands, freedom of movement applies to players from EU, EEA and EFTA countries, but clubs need work permits for players from elsehwere. To attain a work permit, current requirements involve playing for a national team in the word’s top 50, to be in the top 25% of wage earners and to have played a certain number of international games in the past couple of years.

If EU players currently in the Premier League were subject to the same rules, there would be severe consequences for many Premier League clubs, specifically Huddersfield Town. David Wagner’s team could lose 15 of their 25 man squad, according to Miles Jacobson, director of Football Manager, who have modelled various Brexit scenarios in the game.

“As things stand after last night’s transfer window, around 25% of players in the Premier League – that’s about 152 – would definitely not get work permits and that’s not just at the smaller clubs, that’s at bigger clubs as well. ”

Jacobson, speaking on BBC Radio’s Today Show, then listed a litany of top-class stars that would not be allowed to play in the league if Brexit went ahead without the UK making any adjustments to accommodate for the move from the EU. They include:

  • Hector Bellerin, Alexandre Lacazette and Lucas Torreira (Arsenal)
  • Jorginho, Davide Zappacosta and Álvaro Morata (Chelsea)
  • Leroy Sané and Riyad Mahrez (Man City).
  • “For some clubs it would be worse,” he added, “for clubs like Huddersfield, around 15 of their 25 man squad.”

However, Jacobson did caveat that with the prediction that the Premier League will not allow themselves to end up in such a situation.

“I should say that I don’t believe that this is going to be the end scenario; the football industry as a whole, certainly the FA and Premier League will have been discussing this for some time and the data that we have from the game has been presented to enough people now to come up with what should be a decent scenario.

“Because if we do end up at the stage where 25% players can’t get work permits, the long term effect of that would be that the quality of the league would drop, the TV money would drop, and that would be bad for UK plc and tax revenue,” he said.

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