It’s been all doom and gloom since the referendum result last Friday and we have been crying out for a positive. To make matters worse, England were just eliminated from another type of Euros at the hands of Iceland!
After enduring another dismal display from England, I am however left wondering if Brexit might actually help us in future tournaments to come.
Investment banker Keith Harris, the man who helped oversee the sale of numerous football clubs including Chelsea and Manchester City, stated last week that Brexit would mean some of the most influential players in the premier league, N’golo Kante (Leicester City), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Romelu Lukaku (Everton) and Dimitri Payet (West Ham United) to name but a few, wouldn’t have been able play in the premier league last year.
Obviously those players won’t be affected now and other Europeans like them won’t be affected in the short term. However, when we finally exit the EU, new players looking to come in from Europe’s top leagues will almost certainly require a work permit.
Europeans could now be subject to the same immigration rules as non-EU players, under which a player from a top-10 nation has to have played in 30 per cent of their games in the two years prior to the date of application to be granted a work permit. A player from a nation ranked 11-20 must have played in 45 per cent of international games and that percentage rises to 60 per cent for the next 10 countries, then 75 per cent for nations ranked 31-50. Under these Terms Kante, Martial, Lukaku and Payet would not have met the criteria.
If therefore, the youngest and brightest from Europe are blocked to British clubs, does this create an opportunity for home grown players? You have to argue that in the absence of recruiting young European players, it surely will.
If the premier league elite are then forced to turn to British players, they will get more exposure to the higher end of the British game and greater involvement in the inevitable Champions league and UEFA cup nights against the best from Europe. This in turn can only be a good thing for the England national team.
British players have always attracted a high transfer cost though, which is why the Premier League turned to Europeans in the first place. In the years to come following our EU exit, I can’t see this getting any better and in the face of adding demand, salary and incentives packages such as performance bonuses will become ever more important to attract the best Britain has to offer. This will naturally create even more opportunities for companies such as ours that facilitate these incentives.
So can this finally be a positive from Brexit?!