Will Brexit change the EPL forever?


The Premier League (EPL) is widely thought of as the most exciting in the world, with foreign players supplementing a pool of English talent to provide a product that is the envy of most in the world.

It is huge business, with TV companies paying billions for the right to show games on a weekly basis but Britain’s decision to leave the European Union may be a fly in the ointment.

Brexit’s impact on the Premier League is still unknown as negotiations continue and, while both Secretary of State for Brexit David Davis and Prime Minister Theresa May have recently stated that talks are progressing well, it will be a while yet before the clubs know exactly where they stand.

At the heart of most things is the issue is immigration, with the Leavers pointing to the fact that it is too easy for EU citizens to arrive in the UK and take jobs.

It is still unclear as to the restrictions that will be put on player movement after Brexit, but there are a few scenarios that could unfold depending on negotiations.

As it stands, players from across Europe can ply their trade in the EPL without any problems and it is not uncommon for clubs to field 11 foreigners on a Saturday afternoon.

If this practice is ended after Brexit, then clubs will be forced to look at more home-grown players, giving youngsters around the country a boost as they seek a career at the top level.

This would surely be a good thing and something that would filter down to the lower league clubs, as their players would be recruited by the big boys and money will makes its way through the system.

For years, pundits and England managers alike have commented on the ever decreasing pool of players available to the national coach, which has impacted on performances and results at major tournaments – that could all change after Brexit.

If the government decides to give football special dispensation over immigration laws then other entertainment industries will surely follow suit and it could create a minefield for the authorities – something they hardly need after years of banging their heads on the table trying to negotiate a better deal for Britain.

Under the current rules, players from outside the EU can be recruited as long as they obtain a work permit, and these are only issued to those who play regular international football and fulfil the necessary criteria.

The government, Premier League and FA could opt to relax that rule and so, instead of the EPL being flooded with Spanish, German, Belgian and French players, those from South America, Asia and Africa will be targeted.

The decreasing value of the pound means that overseas players are more expensive than ever and £100m transfers are now accepted.

Clubs will rely more and more on the TV revenue to balance the books and so the end product has to remain at a high level to keep the likes of SKY and BT on board.

There is still much work to be done on how Brexit will affect the EPL, but having adapted well to change since its inception in 1992, it seems likely that it will emerge as strong as ever when the politicians have finally sorted the mess out.