How Brexit is impacting Premier League recruitment

Paul Macdonald
Paul Macdonald Updated: 19 May 2021 16:43 CEST 4 min read
How Brexit is impacting Premier League recruitment

In January 2021, the United Kingdom officially exited the EU. A direct result of that process has been a fundamental switch in how Premier League clubs, and indeed all English teams, can conduct transfer business within the European Union.

Previously, Premier League teams could complete deals with any EU member with freedom of movement, but now that is restricted the English FA have devised a set of post-Brexit regulations that must be adhered to in order to sign a player.

This will unquestionably have a real impact on the recruitment process. But what exactly will change?

Post-Brexit transfers: Points-based system

The FA’s point-based system will mean that players will be required to meet specific criteria for a transfer to be eligible to compete either in the Premier League or in English football’s lower levels.

How Brexit is impacting Premier League recruitment

How Brexit is impacting Premier League recruitment

Players from outside either the UK or Republic of Ireland will have a number of stress tests applied to their careers. Points are applied for the following stipulations:

  1. International Appearances

How many appearances a player has made for their country (including at youth level)

2. Domestic Minutes

How many domestic minutes a player has played for their club in their career

3. Continental Minutes

How many minutes of European football a player has played in their career

4. League quality of last club

League quality runs from Band 1 to Band 6. Band 1 represents the highest quality of leagues (La Liga, Serie A), moving down until the lowest level of competition at Band 6

5. Continental progression of last club

How many rounds of European football (Europa League or Champions League) the player’s current team progressed through

6. Final league position of last club

Where in the league table the team finished in the previous season.

Across these six criteria, points are allocated to each and players need to score 15 points or more to be allowed to transfer to English clubs. If players earn between 10 and 14, points, an appeals process is available.

How players accrue points across each criteria is complex. SciSports have developed a GBE Points Calculator Tool which clubs can use to determine the likelihood of a player being granted a transfer to English football. This can be used to guide the decision-making process for teams in a post-Brexit world and assure that there is no lost time of effort on deals that may struggle to be completed.

Post-Brexit Premier League transfers: What this will mean?

In the short-term the transfer system in the United Kingdom will witness some immediate changes.

  • An increase in calibre of player coming to England

Due to the nature of the points system, players will have to have a sufficient level of experience to be eligible for a transfer, therefore we can expect them to be of a higher quality and have more experience.

  • Players under 18 will not be able to move to England

The ‘Cesc Fabregas’ route to English football – the Spaniard signed for Arsenal when he was 16 – is no longer available. Players under the age of 18 will not be able to be signed under the new points system. This could lead to certain clubs ‘buying’ players and then immediately sending them on loan to partner or feeder clubs to accrue the desired number of points.

  • The European market has narrowed for certain teams

If a Premier League/lower league English club traditionally scouts in lower-band competitions (for example 2. Bundesliga, Segunda Division, Serie B), then the lesser points on offer in the band system could make it more problematic to shop for talent in these leagues.

  • More opportunities for English players

These changes to the system could prove to be good news for young English players in academies; instead of competition arriving from overseas at youth level, English players may face less resistance in their path towards the first team.

SciSports’ GBE calculator provides useful indicators on a player’s GBE eligibility under the FA’s regulations and provides an additional layer of clarification as to whether a deal will be successful or not.