Brexit could be ‘positive’ for young English footballers, says FA

Withdrawal from the European Union will see players from the continent under the age of 18 unable to move to English clubs. This could help create more opportunities for emerging English talent

Miguel Delaney
Chief Football Writer
Thursday 05 September 2019 07:02
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Brexit could be a “positive” for young English footballers as it is likely to give them more playing opportunities, according to FA technical director Les Reed.

Withdrawal from the European Union will see players from the continent under the age of 18 unable to move to English clubs while it will be much more difficult to get work permits for European signings who aren’t experienced internationals. This will immediately create more space for English players rising through the ranks.

“It could be very positive,” Reed said. “It’s at the position where we’ve held different talks with stakeholders, particularly the Premier League, but we get to the point where we’re at a bit of an impasse on the fact we really don’t know what the government are doing at the moment.

“There’s a lot of theorising going on about what might happen. We’ve had fairly productive talks but we can’t do anything concrete until we actually know what the law is going to look like. My feeling is that at the moment we’re running around 32-34 per cent of players playing in the Premier League [being English] so just over a third. And therefore we want to keep that and try and improve on that.

“What we don’t want to do is have regulations which knock us back to where we were at ties last season, down to 26-27 per cent. We definitely want the Premier League to remain the best league in the world. We definitely want to make sure the Premier League is a very attractive league and proposition, but at the same time we want to be able to get exposure for young England players. It’s a combination of what’s happens with Brexit, can we change people’s mindsets, can the players showcase themselves any way and get managers thinking in a different way?

“At the end of the day, players come now on the governing body endorsement. We’re the governing body. The immigration are quite clear on that, we’re the governing body, we have to run the endorsement process to bring them in.

“It's a case of how do we adapt the current regulations around that when the entire world becomes a market place because what we don't want to do is stifle what's been happening in terms of European qualified players but at the same time by going worldwide, it's going to be a massive market so we need to have regulations around the endorsement that mean we can protect our pool of talent that are homegrown.”

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