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SBD Global/September 13, 2017/International Football

Premier League Lobbying U.K. Government To Allow Open System

England's football clubs "already face higher costs for star players because of the pound's plunge" since the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, according to David Hellier of BLOOMBERG. The "bigger financial threat to the Premier League from Brexit, though, lies in tighter immigration rules" sought by PM Theresa May’s government. The league is lobbying May’s government to "allow an open system, where any club could sign 17 players of its choosing for its first team squad," which could have 25 players overall and thus would have at least eight homegrown players. Stoke City Chair Peter Coates said, "Brexit is certainly a concern. As with everything with Brexit, nobody knows anything. I have had no personal feedback from the government though the Premier League is keen to get its message across." The EPL said that, under current rules that apply to athletes from outside the EU, two French players who were "crucial to Leicester City winning the championship" in '16, Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante, would not have gained admittance to the U.K. in a "post-Brexit world." A government spokesperson said that the goal is an immigration system that is "in the best interest of the whole of the U.K., and plans to make initial proposals for a new policy later in the autumn." The government said in a statement, "We recognize the importance of sport to the nation and within that the contribution that international talent makes. We are in discussions with key representatives from the sport sector, including the Premier League, regarding the challenges and opportunities that our EU exit brings." Mainly because of the TV cash, England "remains attractive for European stars, who are still likely to be paid higher wages" than they would have attracted elsewhere, "even with sterling's depreciation." But a "massive uncertainty is the future of the employment market after Brexit, with tighter controls on footballers likely" (BLOOMBERG, 9/12).
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