With Brexit approaching the United Kingdom fast (they are due to depart the European Union on March 29, 2019, but who knows if that will ever actually happen…) the English Football Association has been planning accordingly.
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A report from The Times has revealed that the FA will aim to limit the number of overseas players in each clubs 25-man squad to 12, which would cause many teams, especially some of the PL giants, a huge headache to sort out in the coming months as the current limit stands at 17 overseas players per squad.
Per the report, PL clubs will discuss the plans this week and there is some pressure for them to agree to the Brexit plan the FA has put together. More details from The Times here.
“England’s top tier is under pressure to agree a deal with the FA for Brexit. If the clubs do not do so, they could face a nightmare ‘no-deal’ scenario in which all EU players would have to fulfil the same criteria that non-EU players do now in order to get a work permit. The clubs can have up to 17 overseas players in their squads under current rules.”
The issue surrounding EU players is perhaps why the FA feel like they need to act now in order to stop chaotic scenes when the Brexit deal is triggered and new labor laws and regulations come into place. Of course, there will still be a transition period for new laws in the UK as they exit the EU fully by 2021 but the soccer world, especially in England, is one which needs to get its house in order quickly to not lose a competitive edge with their European counterparts as not being able to employ players from European countries easily would have a huge impact.
We must add that although the English Football Association is the governing body of the game in England, they also have very different objectives than the Premier League. For the FA, they would love to see more English youngsters given a chance to play in the Premier League week in, week out, and this ruling would allow that to happen so there will be some back and forth on this matter. In Germany and Spain stricter rules on the number of overseas players has benefitted their respective national teams in recent years, but some PL clubs may feel like their ability to assemble the best squads possible will be hampered by only having 12 overseas players to choose from.
Look at the starting lineups for Arsenal and Chelsea over the weekend: combined they had 1 English player who started, plus Arsenal had two more players who would count as homegrown talents in Hector Bellerin and Alex Iwobi.
Like Brexit in the political world, there is still so much to sort out in terms of how the PL moves forward.