Brexit rules will mean HALF of Premier League squads must be homegrown
Premier League clubs will have to ensure that at least half of the players in their first-team squads are ‘homegrown’, under new FA measures designed to deal with Brexit.
As reported by The Times the drastic plan, which will be put to the 20 top-flight clubs this week, will see the maximum number of overseas players in each 25-man squad slashed from 17 to 12.
Any such proposal would have wide-ranging consequences for Premier League clubs, 13 of whom currently have more than a dozen foreign players in their first-team ranks.
Premier League clubs will have to cut the number of overseas stars in their squad to 12
Manchester City and Tottenham are two of five clubs who have 17, while Chelsea and Liverpool are among four with 16.
With the clock ticking on Britain’s departure from the EU, Premier League sides face a potential cliff-edge if they cannot strike a deal with the FA.
Unless some agreement is reached, players from inside the EU could be forced to go through the same process required of non-EU players in search of a work permit.
It’s reported the FA would offer a ‘governing body endorsement’ for a work permit for every overseas player who signs a contract with a Premier League side, in exchange for a deal to boost the number of homegrown players.
Arsenal are currently among the 13 Premier League teams who currently have more than 12
HOW MANY FOREIGN PLAYERS DO CLUBS CURRENTLY HAVE?
17 – Manchester City, Tottenham, Brighton, Huddersfield, Watford
16 – Chelsea, Liverpool, Fulham, West Ham
15 – Arsenal
14 – Manchester United, Newcastle
13 – Leicester
12 – Crystal Palace, Wolves
11 – Southampton
10 – Everton
7 – Cardiff
6 – Burnley
5 – Bournemouth
According to The Times, the FA believe this would allow the continued flow of top foreign players to England and also maintain the top-flight’s worldwide appeal, all while boosting the amount of English talent.
Currently, to qualify as ‘homegrown’, a player can be born overseas but spend three years in an English or Welsh club’s academy between the ages of 16-21. But after Brexit, clubs will have to wait until a player from Europe is 18 before signing them.
The government have also reportedly made it clear that should the FA and the Premier League agree a deal, it will be happy to give the new rules the green light.
But as with all changes set to come in after Britain leaves the EU, any plans would be subject to a transition period until at last the end of 2020.
And the two sides have so far struggled to find common ground.
Despite being Belgian-born, Romelu Lukaku qualifies as ‘homegrown’ under current rules
But the two sides have so far struggled to find common ground. League chiefs are believed to want work permits granted to all players – regardless of current rules that use the number of international caps, the Fifa ranking of the player’s national team, the transfer fee and wages to help determine who should be allowed in.
The FA, meanwhile, have long been keen to use Brexit as an opportunity to increase the percentage of English players in the top flight. As few as 62 (28 per cent) of players who started Premier League matches two weeks ago were English.
They don’t want to impact clubs’ ability to bring in the cream of the crop from overseas, however.
A government spokesman told The Times: ‘We recognise the need for sports, including football, to continue to access talent from the EU and globally and are in discussions with sports bodies about this.’
Manchester City, Chelsea and the rest of the Premier League clubs will reportedly be given the full details of the plans at a meeting on Thursday.
The Times claim, meanwhile, that the FA is happy with the EFL’s current rules, that mean clubs must have seven homegrown players (including at least one who has come through the academy) among their 18-man match-day squad.
WHAT ARE THE CURRENT RULES?
Premier League clubs are currently obliged to have 17 homegrown players in their 25-man first-team squads.
‘Homegrown’ players include those born overseas who have spent three years in an English or Welsh club’s academy between the ages of 16-21.
Non-EU players are currently subject to vetting. For example, a player from Brazil or another non-EU country ranked in the world’s top ten only has to have played in 30 per cent of games.
An ‘exceptions panel’ can also award visas on a points system based on fees, wages and previous clubs. A player needs to get four points.
He gets three if the transfer fee is in the top quarter of those paid in the previous season or if his wages compare to what the league’s 30 highest earners took the previous season.