by Tony Attwood
A while back I saw a survey on why some people in the UK voted to leave the EU. As we all know, fewer than half the electorate voted to leave the EU, although just over half of all those voting did vote Leave and that is taken as the definitive statement. When asked in surveys later, why those who voted leave, voted in that way, immigration was a prime issue. As one commentator in Peterborough said, “we know they’re foreign, we hear them talk foreign.”
Quite right of course. British people do not speak foreign.
From my own observation I would say that people who are not British by birth who have come here include quite a few NHS nurses, people running car washes, and people working in retaurants in London. Quite who is going to take my order and serve me post Brexit I have no idea, and wash my car if no more incomers are allowed I don’t really know. Unemployment rates are at record lows.
In football, as everyone knows, the PL has a rule that there is a limited number of non-home-grown players who can be used in the list of 25 accredited over 21s. Home grown being a device to get around what would at the moment be an illegal restriction on EU citizens playing for English clubs. One’s homegrownness depending on where one was trained. Thus Bellerin, a Spanish citizen and Spanish by birth, is home grown under the rules.
Now the FA wanted to introduce increased quotas on the use of home grown players and change the definition of home grownity.
In essence players from outside the EEA must appear regularly for a country in the top 60 in the world or move for a transfer fee or wages exceeding the middle ranking amount paid by Premier League clubs the previous year, as indicators that they are an exceptional talent.
But the Premier League has said “non” to the FA’s idea, or as we must say post Brexit, “no”. The FA however will have the law on their side.
The FA wanted the number of overseas players permitted in a Premier League squad of 25 players down from the current level 17 to 12, meaning the majority of players in the 25 man squad would have to be British. And the government has said that it bows to the FA in these matters. After all, it gives them loads of money.
But the PL is unhappy.
Even though Untold did the research into what successful countries all had in common, and found it had nothing to do with the number of overseas players in the country and everything to do with the number of coaches per 1000 players, and even though lots of people have quoted the findings ever since, including some national newspapers like the Telegraph, the FA is still in total and absolute denial.
And that despite the fact that the research was done before the rise of Iceland to a country that might appear in international final stages, but noted that Iceland came out near the top in the analyses. A pretty nifty prediction even though I say it myself.
Now the FA has been to each club to say that it required a reduction in the number of non-UK citizens in the 25 man squad.
In a statement the FA said: “The FA has proposed a pragmatic post-Brexit solution to Premier League clubs. The proposal would allow the same current access to European players and reduce governing body endorsement requirements for non-European players to the same level.
“In return for this improved access, the FA would like to ensure that the league collectively does not exceed the current number of around 260 non-homegrown players in the league – this is equivalent to 13 players per club. The FA believes increasing access, but preventing an increase in current numbers of overseas players, would benefit all of English football.”
By and large the clubs that have commented have been calm but noted that they oppose the idea totally. Some have said this is far too early a time to debate the issue since we don’t yet know if when and how or even if the UK will leave the EU. Only our PM seems certain.
Meanwhile in a totally separate issue we will finally, a year after virtually all the other major leagues, get VAR next season. Unfortunately referees from the ultra-secretive untra-conservative, ultra-Ultra PGMO will still be in charge, they will not be open to question, and no debate will be held in public.
Also it seems the League has decided to keep the early closing of the summer transfer window before the start of the season, despite the vast amount of criticism that has been heard about the effect of the ruling. It seems that the PL has two thoughts in mind on this. First, that the clubs will get used to the idea and things will settle down, and second the rest of the world usually follows England, so they will all quickly fall into line.
It’s great to know little England lives on.
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