Last week Jackson covered the basics of Brexit and today I’m going to dive into what the vote means for the Premier League and your favorite team.
First a little background on where England and the Premier League stand currently in world football (soccer, duh).
So, the UEFA coefficient is used to rank leagues in terms of strength and in layman’s terms is calculated by using the number of teams that qualify and their progress in the Champions League and Europa League from each league.
England currently sits third, ~4 points behind Germany and ~19 points behind Spain with a ~6 point lead over Italy who rounds out the top 4. The Premier League in my opinion is the most competitive league in the world, primarily because it lacks the whipping boys that exist in the other leagues and actually has some. In La Liga and Bundesliga in particular you can pretty much pencil in the same top 4 each year.
Unfortunately the competitive nature and grueling schedule of the Premier League tends to wear teams out and that negatively impacts their performance on the continental stage. In the last decade, performance in the Champions League and Europa League amongst the top 4 leagues is as follows:
- CL: 2 winners, 5 runners-up
- Europa League: 1 winner, 1 runner-up
- CL: 6 winners, 2 runners-up
- Europa League: 4 winners (Sevilla has won the last 3)
- CL: 1 winner, 3 runners-up
- CL: 2 winners, 1 runner-up
Spain has dominated recently as you can see, and even though England doesn’t look too far behind their last Champions League win was in 2012 (last runner-up in 2011) and their last Europa League winner came in 2013. Both victories were achieved by Chelsea, so let’s take a minute to bask in the greatness that is possessed by *my* Blues (latest season aside):
And throughout that time there have been a handful of English clubs who many believed were destined for cup glory (looking at you Arsenal) and fell far short of expectations.
So, now despite all 20 Premier League clubs firmly in favor of remaining in the EU, England has elected to depart (granted it will take minimum of 2 years to do so). So, first let’s take a look at the positives:
England could elect to treat all nations equally and allow entrance to be easier for both EU and non-EU players.
This however is very unlikely as it would create an ethical dilemma of why do footballers get preferable treatment and entrance in comparison to professionals in other industries. So, now that we got the bright side over with let’s dive into the slew of potential negatives.
The GBP to Euro conversion.
The Euro is currently worth (as of 3:15 EST today) about £0.835 and just a year ago it was worth £0.709. So what does this mean?
- The Premier League’s £5.1bn television deal they signed last year was worth approximately €7.29bn where as of earlier today that figured dropped to €6.11bn
- This also messes with transfer figures, for example West Ham bid €40m for Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette earlier this week, which then was about £31m and today is about £34m.
It will now be necessary for EU players to obtain a visa from the Home Office in order to play in England.
When England was a member of the EU they were able to bring over players from EU nations without the added headache of making sure they qualified for a visa (unlike South American players which must meet specific requirements).
Also many South American players would establish citizenship in EU countries with low barriers to obtaining citizenship (Diego Costa became a Spanish citizen), which would permit them to play in England. So what does all this means?
- Players will now need to meet minimum international cap requirements to qualify. Players will need to have played in X% of caps over the last two years and for players under 21 will need to meet that percentage for the last 12 months.
- Players from Top 10 Nations (according to FIFA) will need to have played in 30% of their countries games.
- Players from nations ranked 11-20 will need to have played in 45%.
- Players from nations ranked 21-30 will need to have played in 60%.
- Players from nations ranked 31-50 will need to have played in 75%.
- Players from nations ranked 51+ will need to file an application with the “exceptions panel.”
- Players <18 can only be transferred under certain circumstances, one of which is if their families move to that country, something that will be much harder now.
- Players from outside of England that 16-18 will have difficulty joining English academies (ex. Fabregas wouldn’t have been able to join Arsenal).
So, now you’re probably thinking, well that can’t impact too many players right? Wrong. As of September 2015, the Premier League had 161 EU players, 111 of which wouldn’t be eligible under these new rules. Notable players who would struggle to gain clearance this year include arguably Leicester City’s most crucial player, Kante and West Ham’s maestro, Dimitri Payet. In other words yes, this would be a huge deal and we would’ve robbed us of all this magic had these rules been enacted.
The FA and the Premier League will be fighting to serve their best interests.
The FA now as the opportunity to place more stringent policies when it comes to foreign players and could limit the number of non-UK players allowed on cup rosters for domestic tournaments. It could also put additional rules in place in an attempt to grow more British players especially in light of today’s abysmal defeat to Iceland.
This could set quotas making it more difficult to sign foreign born players and put the league in a dire position where only the top clubs can afford to make such moves, which in turn would kill any parity the league has.
At the end of the day, with so much still unknown, it’s hard to say what final impact Brexit will have on the Premier League. But, as things look now it will become more difficult for clubs to attract top talent and will hurt their performance on the European stage even more in the process all while decreasing the appeal of the overall product.
Only time will tell now.