The British did have their feelings of pride. After daring to claim his country as a place where “the sun will never sink”, they took a risky step by deciding to leave the European Union in 2016. Thanks to the referendum that resulted in the Brexit (British & Exit) ruling, Britain becomes a self-reliant country that no longer depends on European Union organizations.
Apart from the political issues that surround it, what is the effect of Brexit for The football of England?
One of the agreements with the broadest impact on the European Union is the issue of labor migration. England, by leaving the European Union, will automatically lose their convenience in this sector. Professional footballers, who can be categorized as workers, are the ones who most affected.
At least there are two things that can change the condition of British football after Brexit.
First, the FA regulation on work permits for foreign players will be more stringent. This regulation requires foreign players recruited by English clubs to already strengthen their national team within a certain minimum for two years before being contracted. Before Brexit, this rule was loosened up as the European Union freed the workers to move into their countries. This is also what makes players like N’Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez, Fernandinho, and so on could be recruited while they were not famous enough and still had not received a call from the national team.
The second is that the transfer process of young players will be more difficult. European Union rules stated that the youngest age limit for workers is 16 years. So as long as someone has fulfilled that age, he may move easily to other EU member states. This is what makes Arsene Wenger was able to take advantage of foreign young players such as Cesc Fabregas or Hector Bellerin for years. With Brexit, the rule will not apply. The youngest limit for workers is 18 years. So, even if you want to recruit young talents, the club must wait for the player until they are 18 years old.
The situation will be very complicated if Brexit is finally enforced and the English football federation, FA, must also adjust. Before the two possibilities arise, the FA first decides to limit the number of foreign players.
The FA intends to cut the number of foreign players from 17 to 12. This proposal will certainly face a lot of obstacles since among the 20 Premier League clubs participating in this season, there are 13 teams that have more than 12 foreign players.
All top six teams have crossed this line. Let’s see one by one.
In Arsenal, 84% of the main players are foreign legions. In the starting XI, only Rob Holding was a local player and Danny Welbeck was the only England player on the bench.
In Chelsea, the foreign players touched 81.5%. Ross Barkley was the only local players who routinely become the main choice. Other players such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek or Gary Cahill were only able to fill the bench.
Meanwhile, in Manchester City, there were 21 foreign players who filled 80.8% of the total team. Kyle Walker, John Stones, and Raheem Sterling were able to penetrate the starting, but Phil Foden and Fabian Delph only became the decorators.
Manchester United and Tottenham have the same percentage of foreign players which was as much as 73.1%. There was also a Liverpool club which became the most open club to local players because it only has 16 foreign players or 64% of the squad number.
So, if the FA continues to impose restrictions on 12 foreign players, then we must be prepared to lose Aymeric Laporte, Jorginho, Lucas Torreira, Fabinho, and other foreign players.
The problem is, do local players have enough quality to replace the imported players?
Chelsea fans have certainly better understand why David Luiz played more often than Gary Cahill and Manchester City’s fans who know better why Fabian Delph has never played.
As the local players are not qualified enough, the FA must be careful. Do not let the clubs turn out to stop playing football just because they do not have players. For the sake of a strong national team, the portion of local players must indeed be enlarged. However, there should be enough attention to the regulations so that they did not even strangle the clubs.