No doubt Brexit will influence the English football but it will also shake whole football world. Not only Europe, but world. Top players will move for top money and that will be an occasion for rich investors in Arabia to further their influence in Europe or we could even see a super league rising over in China.
It might be strange or unthinkable at the moment but football has been a multi-billion industry and if all restrictions associated with Brexit roll over to football the money will look to move to more pleasant surroundings.
For two decades Premier League was patiently building its image of European and world’s top football league. After erratic 80’s the politics made the circumstances in which football is again as marketable as vacations in Maldives. Football became a prime product attracting every investor from Russian oligarch, over Arab oil moguls and everyone in between. With all that money came the best players, stadiums, derbies…
More than third of players in Premiership wouldn’t get work permit
It all becomes less attractive suddenly. More than a third of Premier League players will become foreigners and will not be allowed to get the work permit any more. In fact, last year, a BBC study found that “more than 300 European players in the Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premiership would not qualify for work permits under the rules governing non-EU players. Last season, only 23 of the EU nationals in the Premier League would have met those criteria, with the likes of Dimitri Payet and Anthony Martial unable to secure work permits”, says the study. It also reveals that “only 23 of the 180 non-British EU players currently playing in the Championship would get work permits… Remarkably, none of the 53 non-British EU players in the Scottish Premiership would qualify for a permit on the basis of their international career alone”.
While some of the top players will remain, most of them will have to find another place to play their football. This will produce a chain event as TV stations will be reluctant to pay 5.2 billion pounds (as the current deal stands) to show less than top world players. With less money, the game will be less attractive even for those top players to remain and English game might soon drop into vicious spiral. If that is actually good or bad for English football, that is completely different story we won’t be tackling today.
If Premiership can’t get the stars it won’t get the money
“Revenue is clearly tied to the quality of players that the Premier League is able to present to viewers on TV and in the stadium, that is why big broadcasters are paying billions. If those EU players weren’t present, the value of the broadcast rights would be significantly diminished”, said Dr Babatunde Buraimo from University of Liverpool Management School to The Telegraph. That is precisely why all the Premiership clubs openly sided to remain in the Union while Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chairman, argued that “it would be “incongruous” for him to back the UK leaving”, reports The Independent.
However, rules for non-EU players that are currently valid, might be changed.
UK could relax them to attract the new stars into English game as they aren’t your typical immigrant and earning a lot gets back in form of taxes. “However, it may be difficult for such an agreement to be put into place because footballers are considered workers in law and it may be the case that they cannot be treated as a special category”, said Dr Gregory Ioannidis, a senior law lecturer from Sheffield Hallam University when speaking to BBC.
As everything with Brexit, even the influence it will have on football in the UK is unclear and won’t be resolved in any short future. There will be time to adapt, the problem is, if it takes too much time, all the money that currently circulates in English football might seek safer surrounding.
European football is dependent on Premiership money
The pressure is not only on English football. A lot of money is getting over to the continent. Huge transfer fees Premiership clubs were paying for international stars were a significant income for leagues in Germany, Spain, France… everywhere.
“Last summer the English top division spent close to $226 million (220 million Euros) on players from the Bundesliga, most of whom are German nationals or from other EU nations. As things stand these players are free to move from Germany to England with very little red tape getting in the way. Should Britain leave the EU, it would be far harder to sign such players. All of a sudden, Bundesliga stars would be far less appealing to the cash-rich Premier League clubs.”, says an article on Deutsche Welle.
Football is too big and heavily dependent on English league. Teams all over Europe will find the financial survival much harder without the money that comes from Premiership and this will leave space for new openings if things aren’t sorted in reasonable time.
In the end, Premier League will find the way to attract stars, the question is how many? Are they going to be enough to keep huge TV rights incomes? If not, football world will change as investors will seek to keep the revenues selecting some other top European league for cash cow. And who knows what China is planning?