Brexit: Premier League reject Football Association plans to limit number of foreign players

The FA want to lower the number of foreign players in a matchday squad from 17 to 13

Jack Pitt-Brooke
Wednesday 21 November 2018 18:37
Theresa May threatens 'no Brexit at all' if deal rejected

The Premier League has reiterated its opposition to the Football Association’s Brexit plans, saying that there was “no evidence” that they would strengthen England national teams.

In a comprehensive statement released on Wednesday, the Premier League has made clear it does not agree with the FA’s plans to cut the number of non-Home Grown players allowed in each Premier League squad from 17 to 13. The FA sees the plan as its way to give help to young English-qualified players in the post-Brexit landscape, by slowing the flow of foreign players into English football. The FA is so passionate about the changes that they would support them even if Brexit were not happening.

But the Premier League announced today that, along with the EFL and the Scottish Professional Football League, they did not want to see Brexit used to weaken the clubs. Premier League clubs have been very enthusiastic importers of foreign players in recent years, and do not want to see that competitiveness impaired.

The Premier League statement alludes to the EFL and SPFL agreeing that “Brexit should not be used to weaken playing squads in British football, nor to harm clubs’ ability to sign international players”. If the FA’s proposal were passed then more than half of the Premier League would have to reduce their number of non-Home Grown players to comply with the new cap.

The FA believes that this is necessary to help England-qualified players to get first team opportunities, which in turn will improve the strength of the England national teams. Just 30 per cent of starting appearances in the Premier League are made by England-qualified players. But the Premier League rejects this argument, pointing to the recent successes of England teams at all levels. Today’s statement referred to the “world-leading player development system which delivers for England teams at every level.”

“This was demonstrated by the many Premier League club Academy and senior players that FA coaches moulded so well into U17 and U20 FIFA World Cup winners and men’s FIFA World Cup semi-finalists,” the statement continued. “There is no evidence that stronger quotas than exist now would have a positive impact on national teams.”

The FA have warned that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, and there is no football deal either, then their points system for foreign players’ visas will apply to European players too, which would disrupt the Premier League far more drastically than this particular plan would. But until that happens the Premier League will continue to dig in, for no change to be made to the current set-up. The FA and Premier League will continue to make their cases to the government.

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