The ‘Brexit’-camp has won the referendum. By a small margin, the British people have voted to leave the European Union on Thursday. Although the political and economic effects will probably be very big as well, I have tried to look at it from an Arsenal point of view. Although the English clubs have expressed their opinions towards the Remain-camp it wasn’t to be when the first results came in Thursday evening, with the final result being announced on Friday. Now that a ‘Brexit’ is on the cards, here’s what the effect could and likely will be for English football (and with that, Arsenal).
Work permit issues
Everyone with a nationality from inside the EU can work inside the United Kingdom without any trouble. The question arises whether that will still be the case after the UK actually separate from the EU. In the worst case scenario, work permit rules that apply for non-EU residents will also apply to EU-residents. That would make signing a player a lot more difficult. For example, Arsenal would not have been able to complete the signing of French striker Olivier Giroud at the time. One of these demands would be that the non-UK player has had to be part of 45% of the international games for his country. If not, the player won’t be allowed a work permit. If the Brexit would have been installed directly, hundreds of players in the Premier League would immediately lose their work permits.
Devaluation of the British pound
By leaving the European Union the British currency will devaluate, making the possibility of signing players from inside the EU more expensive, while EU-clubs can bring in players from inside the United Kingdom the other way around for a lower price than before.
Under-18 player transfers
The FIFA won’t allow players to be transferred under the age of 18, unless they move within the EU. That would mean for example that Arsenal would never have been able to sign players such as Cesc Fabregas and Héctor Bellerin.
More chance for own youth
A positive thing however is that the English clubs will have to focus more on their own youth academies. Currently about 30% of the players in the Premier League is actually English. By leaving the EU English clubs won’t be able to sign whoever they want anymore, and will have to focus on developing their own future stars.
As the football industry generates billions every year the Brexit rules won’t be forcefully applied immediately as that would be a complete disaster. It will be done one step at a time and everything will be considered carefully. The reality however remains that the British people have voted, and the English football will just have to deal with it.