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Latest news

What does Brexit mean for British sport?

Britain, as a nation, will be transformed by its decision to leave the European Union, but what will "Brexit's" impact be on sport?

One obvious effect will be on the UK’s professional sporting leagues, which will find recruiting non-British talent increasingly difficult, due to the loss of free movement of players offered by the EU membership.

PREMIER LEAGUE TROUBLES

The English Premier League will be hit hardest, as it relies heavily on foreign talent to cling on to its claim of being the “best football league in the world” – just 33.2 per cent of players who started the first Premier League game last season (2015-16) were English.

The ratio of foreign players will change dramatically, however. Players with an EU passport are currently free to play in the UK, but as Britain exits the agreements over free movement of labour, the players will no longer have an automatic right to live and work in the UK.

All players will now need to meet strict Home Office criteria – the most important being that all players are established internationals for “leading nations”.

It is estimated that more than 400 footballers currently plying their trade in the UK would not meet the Home Office criteria – and would lose their right to work.

Replacing that amount of talent with international players who meet the requirements would be, if not impossible, wildly expensive.

The cost of acquiring players from outside the UK has also increased dramatically as the value of the pound plunged more than 11 per cent following the decision to leave the EU – and is unlikely to recover for some time.

While the work permit issues could take months, or even years, to come into force, In the short term at least, the weak pound will mean English clubs are in a disadvantaged position against European clubs when bidding for players.

City analyst David Cheetham from financial brokers XTB.com predicts that 2016 will now become “the most expensive premier league transfer window on record for English clubs”.

“The sharp decline seen today in the wake of the UK's decision to leave the EU could well have an impact on Premier League clubs and their transfer activity this summer.

“In addition to the initial decline seen in the pound in relation to the Euro – with the pair trading over 6 per cent so far today – the nature of the decline suggests there could be more to come as the period of uncertainty could be long and protracted.”

EQUIPMENT COSTS

Leaving the EU is also likely increase the cost of sports equipment and limit access to sports funding for British organisations, according to Sport and Recreation Alliance chief executive Emma Boggis.

Boggis said that potential tariffs on imports from the EU could increase the cost of goods, which could have a knock-on effect for participation in physical activity.

“Grassroots sport could be impacted on by the absence of any formally negotiated free-trade agreements,” she says.

“We will see some form of tariffs on EU goods exported to the UK and vice versa, which will make goods, including sportswear and sports equipment, more costly than they are now.

“With the focus on driving participation, particularly amongst minority communities, the increase in costs could prove to be particularly unhelpful.”

FUNDING CUTS

The UK will now also be cut from accessing EU funding streams designed to support sport, principally ERASMUS+, but also the EU Structural Funds.

This could have a dramatic effect, as the EU recently identified grassroots sports as a “positive force” in the battle against lifestyle illnesses and social exclusion – while also helping to promote equal opportunities.

As a result, the EU has increased its funding for the ERASMUS+ programme – from which British sport will now be excluded.

POSITIVES

Predicting the possible uplifts for sport provided by an EU exit is harder – and only time will tell if there are any.

The Premier League having to adjust its reliance on foreign talent could free up more opportunities for home grown players to prosper at elite level, but nurturing that talent – and ensuring it is ready to play at the highest level – will take time.

According to Matthew Elliott, Vote Leave chief executive, there are many ways in which the EU has held the UK back from achieving its full potential.

"Having an open border to almost 500 million people from within the EU restricts the Football Association’s ability to introduce rules to support young British players," he said.

"As the European Court ruled in December 1995, the EU Treaties forbid 'rules laid down by sporting associations under which, in matches in competitions which they organise, football clubs may field only a limited number of professional players who are nationals of other member states'.

"By imposing restrictions on non-EU countries in an attempt to control immigration, British sport effectively loses out on talent from outside the EU. Currently players from within the EU can work in Britain, but those from outside must be proven internationals to satisfy Home Office criteria for a work permit. This blatant discrimination will as we leave the EU and take back control."

Britain, as a nation, will be transformed by its decision to leave the European Union, but what will "Brexit's" impact be on sport?
SAR
THUMB11512_204952.jpg
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What does Brexit mean for British sport?

Britain, as a nation, will be transformed by its decision to leave the European Union, but what will "Brexit's" impact be on sport?

One obvious effect will be on the UK’s professional sporting leagues, which will find recruiting non-British talent increasingly difficult, due to the loss of free movement of players offered by the EU membership.

PREMIER LEAGUE TROUBLES

The English Premier League will be hit hardest, as it relies heavily on foreign talent to cling on to its claim of being the “best football league in the world” – just 33.2 per cent of players who started the first Premier League game last season (2015-16) were English.

The ratio of foreign players will change dramatically, however. Players with an EU passport are currently free to play in the UK, but as Britain exits the agreements over free movement of labour, the players will no longer have an automatic right to live and work in the UK.

All players will now need to meet strict Home Office criteria – the most important being that all players are established internationals for “leading nations”.

It is estimated that more than 400 footballers currently plying their trade in the UK would not meet the Home Office criteria – and would lose their right to work.

Replacing that amount of talent with international players who meet the requirements would be, if not impossible, wildly expensive.

The cost of acquiring players from outside the UK has also increased dramatically as the value of the pound plunged more than 11 per cent following the decision to leave the EU – and is unlikely to recover for some time.

While the work permit issues could take months, or even years, to come into force, In the short term at least, the weak pound will mean English clubs are in a disadvantaged position against European clubs when bidding for players.

City analyst David Cheetham from financial brokers XTB.com predicts that 2016 will now become “the most expensive premier league transfer window on record for English clubs”.

“The sharp decline seen today in the wake of the UK's decision to leave the EU could well have an impact on Premier League clubs and their transfer activity this summer.

“In addition to the initial decline seen in the pound in relation to the Euro – with the pair trading over 6 per cent so far today – the nature of the decline suggests there could be more to come as the period of uncertainty could be long and protracted.”

EQUIPMENT COSTS

Leaving the EU is also likely increase the cost of sports equipment and limit access to sports funding for British organisations, according to Sport and Recreation Alliance chief executive Emma Boggis.

Boggis said that potential tariffs on imports from the EU could increase the cost of goods, which could have a knock-on effect for participation in physical activity.

“Grassroots sport could be impacted on by the absence of any formally negotiated free-trade agreements,” she says.

“We will see some form of tariffs on EU goods exported to the UK and vice versa, which will make goods, including sportswear and sports equipment, more costly than they are now.

“With the focus on driving participation, particularly amongst minority communities, the increase in costs could prove to be particularly unhelpful.”

FUNDING CUTS

The UK will now also be cut from accessing EU funding streams designed to support sport, principally ERASMUS+, but also the EU Structural Funds.

This could have a dramatic effect, as the EU recently identified grassroots sports as a “positive force” in the battle against lifestyle illnesses and social exclusion – while also helping to promote equal opportunities.

As a result, the EU has increased its funding for the ERASMUS+ programme – from which British sport will now be excluded.

POSITIVES

Predicting the possible uplifts for sport provided by an EU exit is harder – and only time will tell if there are any.

The Premier League having to adjust its reliance on foreign talent could free up more opportunities for home grown players to prosper at elite level, but nurturing that talent – and ensuring it is ready to play at the highest level – will take time.

According to Matthew Elliott, Vote Leave chief executive, there are many ways in which the EU has held the UK back from achieving its full potential.

"Having an open border to almost 500 million people from within the EU restricts the Football Association’s ability to introduce rules to support young British players," he said.

"As the European Court ruled in December 1995, the EU Treaties forbid 'rules laid down by sporting associations under which, in matches in competitions which they organise, football clubs may field only a limited number of professional players who are nationals of other member states'.

"By imposing restrictions on non-EU countries in an attempt to control immigration, British sport effectively loses out on talent from outside the EU. Currently players from within the EU can work in Britain, but those from outside must be proven internationals to satisfy Home Office criteria for a work permit. This blatant discrimination will as we leave the EU and take back control."

Britain, as a nation, will be transformed by its decision to leave the European Union, but what will "Brexit's" impact be on sport?
SAR
THUMB11512_204952.jpg

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