The Effects of Brexit on Football

Earlier this week Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino blames his sides’ lack of transfer business on a whole host of things, including Brexit. David Cameron has a lot to answer for but I bet he didn’t see this one coming three years ago. But does Pochettino’s claim hold any truth? The Anfield Talk’s Dale (@coldcoldgal) dives into the effects Brexit will have on football…

Brexit has safely gone down the shitter, with everything looking like that Donald Glover meme where everything’s on fire and there’s nothing he can do. Football Manager has tried to simulate post-Brexit life in football but there’s a lot that they didn’t say. Here’s a look at the potential changes we face from March 29th 2019.

It’s basic but inconvenient, kit prices are going to rise. Scenario one is that the kits continue to be produced using unethically sourced products. The price of the actual kits will be the same but import taxes will be raised, as New Balance get raw product from 32 countries where worker conditions aren’t guaranteed to be safe and therefore the prices of these product is low. The products all cost the same but there’s added tax so bang an extra few pounds onto the price of your Liverpool strip.

Scenario two is producing the kits in the UK instead, very unlikely but then the factory workers need a minimum wage so the price is already higher. Don’t believe it? Go have a look at the prices on the New Balance website, they already have a line called ‘Made in UK’. New Balance 420s: £65.00, and the Made in UK New Balance: £160.00. Liverpool are lucky that New Balance already have UK factories so if production were to switch to the UK then whilst costs would go up, the company already have a factory and workers ready to go in Cumbria.

Worst case scenario is that Britain don’t sort a trade deal by March 29th 2019 then the World Trade Organisation’s import duties become the new rules and they’re far from ideal. There’s 20% VAT, as it already is, and 8% import duties. There’s also the issue of the amount of imports that will be allowed in from Europe. There’s an estimate of around 1,000 vans/lorries of imports per day allowed to enter the UK post Brexit when at current, there’s 10,000 vans a day passing through Dover port alone. Naturally food, hygiene products and personal medicines will take priority over materials used to make football boots.

As of right now there no travel agreement and there is no plan for one. In the case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit all flights from the UK will be grounded until deals are reached with each country. A deal can be reached with the EU as a group, under the EU Aviation Agency but other countries in Europe, USA and the whole of Asia will have to have their own individual arrangements made.

Without backing from the EU the UK would have to start from scratch with a lot of countries, a tricky task if the state of the government continues to spiral and the pound drops even further than it did on the night of the referendum. Access will start off incredibly low level and build up with time. Considering the volatility of the US government, a deal with them could take years to negotiate. If no negotiations are reached within a year of leaving the EU, England could be kicked from the Euros and the final moved to mainland Europe.

Work permits may also throw spanners in the works. Players already have to get work permits when coming from outside the EU/EEA. This is an arduous process involving getting Governing body endorsement which is based on factors such as participation percentage in senior national games and nation team FIFA rankings. After this a player will be given a Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa, which is dependent upon the player’s English speaking abilities. Work permits as it stands are already rigorous, Liverpool alone would lose a third of players if all EU players had to apply for permits tomorrow. The Champions League would lose more than three quarters of it’s EU players.

Potential players would have to choose between moving to UK clubs alone in some cases or to European clubs with their families as these rules will affect members of the EU and EEA from March 2019. While you’re able to bring a spouse and child, this leaves a massive gap for young players without spouses, unable to bring their parents. Equally the role will be reversed for English players going to European clubs. Undoubtedly this puts European clubs at a massive advantage over English clubs, and will more than likely come out on top of international tournaments. If you’re curious about the stipulations of the work permits, you can read more here. (

There’s a high chance for young talent from the EU to be blocked from coming UK clubs before they turn 18. There’s a practice FIFA have in place which prohibits the international transfer of players under 18. The EU get around this practice with their free movement of people policy, which will no longer apply to the UK. Whereas the likes of Karius, Kewell and Borini all came to the UK as Juniors, that won’t happen anymore and there’s a good chance that these young players will stay in Europe once they’re settled at European clubs.

Potentially the upside to this loss of European youth players is that English players from League Two have the potential to be plucked up into Premier League teams. An LSE statistic paints a bleak picture: “In 2017, Premier League clubs spent over €1bn on players from across the EU but less than €50m, or 5%, on players from England’s lower divisions, and even less from elsewhere in the UK.” If the money spent on EU players is, in part, then used to buy lower league/division players then the newfound cash injection could do these clubs some real good.

The truth of the matter is that this is all guess work. Brexit is guess work. Not even the government get it so of course we don’t, but this is just a pretty good guess at the future of English football, specifically the future of LFC. So if you’re still watching football and not caught up in the nuclear holocaust by March 2019, well, good luck, Charlie.

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