By Tony Attwood
It has never been any secret that the Football Association generally feels that while it might not be 1935, it jolly well ought to be. All English players in English teams playing in the English 1st Division, with none of these johnny foreigners lurking about. (Mind you they also think they are a fit and proper organisation to run football, which gives a clue to their thinking).
Of course that rampant nationalism bordering at times on racism (just look at the way FA execs have spoken about people of non-pure-Anglo-Saxon-white-descent for years) has always resulted in a desire for an all pure-English football league.
It was however the EU that stopped all that, and it was primarily Mr Wenger that showed English clubs that some of these foreign chappies really did know a thing or two.
But when Britain left the EU on 31 January this year, that threw all that multi-nationalism out the window, leaving the FA free to dictate any sort of nationalistic anti-foreigner restrictions it felt like. No worries about the fact that tiny countries like Belgium and Iceland with their players playing all over Europe often do better than England in the world cup and other affairs, we are going to have as near a pure English Premier League as they can deliver.
The rules that have emerged are not clear however (but then this is the FA). When the FA talk of “foreigners” do they mean non-English, or non-English/Welsh, or do they mean non-British. I guess we might be told one day.
Anyway, Premier League clubs and Football League clubs can’t sign any “foreign” (whatever that means) players now until they are 18. The transfer of all players from the EU will be subject to work permits that will be in the hands of the Football Association, who of course as we know are very sound when it comes to handling administrative affairs.
This new system comes into effect on 31 December 2020 – so in time for the next window – and it also means that no Premier League club can sign more than three players under the age of 21 in any single transfer window, and thus logically no more than six such players in a season.
In women’s football different regulations apply and neither the youth international appearances nor the position of the selling club vis a vis European competitions will be taken into account.
Richard Masters, the Premier League’s chief executive, said, “The Premier League has worked with The FA to come to an agreement to ensure no part of Brexit should damage the success of the Premier League, or the prospects of the England teams.
“Following the January transfer window, we look forward to reviewing the agreement with The FA.”
That is an interesting statement coming as it does as some clubs in the Premier League have been trying to reformulate the League so that the elite clubs have more power. It couldn’t possibly be, could it, that this restrictive programme has been agreed because the American and Russian owned clubs feel that they could then show how limiting this new approach is, and then take the top clubs out of the Premier League to play in a new European League?
The government of the UK doesn’t actually have any power over the Premier League save that the Premier League has to agree to the laws of the land. So these new arrangements are not cast in law, and thus if the PL proclaim they are unworkable, unless the government wants to legislate against the clubs (not a clever thing to do in terms of votes), the PL can change what it does.
As far as I know all the Premier League clubs were united against leaving the EU because of the restrictions on the use of foreign players it would bring, and we can now look forward to the number of English players in a squad being inched up year by year. I don’t think this is over yet.
The Sweet FA and the corruption files
- Sweet FA. A history of the idiocy and incompetence in football administration
- The FA scandals part 2: The minister says reform or we close you
- The FA scandals part 3: hiding racism and appointing idiots
- Mr Wenger v The FA – the full 20 year history. And the world of the fake innuendo.
- The crimes of the FA: failing to deal with Fifa and with discrimination
- The failures of the FA: Part 6 – if we don’t communicate it is your fault
- Tracking the fun things the FA have got up to over the years. Part 7.
- How the FA have manipulated the stats in order to try and gain more power
- Arsenal v Tottenham; the team and some rather jolly recent history
- We are running out of referees, and the reason is the PGMO.
- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t
- Arsenal v Tottenham: different clubs, different managers, different successes
- Arsenal v Tottenham with clubs now getting more cards than they put in tackles!