Premier League rejects FA's post-Brexit proposal to increase quotas of homegrown players

Sam Wallace
Riyad Mahrez, David Silva and Bernardo Silva of Premier League champions Manchester City celebrate scoring in last week's derby - Manchester City FC

The Premier League has rejected the Football Association’s proposal of increased quotas of homegrown players under Brexit which was presented to them personally on Thursday by the FA chief executive, Martin Glenn.

The FA want to see the number of overseas players permitted in a Premier League squad reduced from 17 to 12, and the Government has indicated that it will take the governing body’s proposal when formulating rules post-Brexit. The FA sees itself in a unique position to influence the future of the domestic game and wants rules that will favour the development of English players without affecting the quality of the competition.

Glenn addressed the 20 clubs personally to explain the FA’s position pointing out that only the biggest clubs tend to have the maximum 17 overseas players in their squads and that the reduction the FA is proposing would not see a net fall in the number of imported players.

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In return all players would enjoy the same access current European Union players have to work permits. Currently there is a much higher standard to reach for players coming from outside the EU. 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 levels.

“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.”

The West Ham co-chairman David Gold said that the clubs had no inclination to make a change. He said: “It’s working. Why would you change it? We have to do some further investigation and make sure that we have all of the details. There is no evidence so to speak to support his proposal. They are looking into it and we are looking into it. If we can help them. We are very supportive of English football. We want it to be successful.

Watford oppose the introduction of a reduced quota for non-homegrown players

"But we don’t want to be doing things that isn’t going to work. We have got to look at the options and look at the evidence.

The Watford operation director Glyn Evans, whose club traditionally have a high number of non-homegrown players and a high turnover in their squad, said that his club was in opposition to a change in quotas. He said: “We want to keep the status quo. We want it [home-grown players]to stay as it is. It’s a bit like the Brexit negotiations – there’s a bit going on here, a bit going on there. We are not at that position, we are in dialogue with the football authorities.

“Just look at the Government’s Brexit position, you just have to wait and see. We will continue to try and sign the best of the best to maintain the Premier League as being the best league in the world, a global British brand that delivers significant revenue to this country. Anyone who is currently here can carry on being here.”

The Premier League has voted to introduce video assistant referees next season, seven months after delaying its arrival in the English game amid fears that officials were not ready. The 20 clubs voted in favour of VAR at their shareholders meeting. In a statement the league said: “Key learnings from VAR’s use in the FA and Carabao Cups, and other leagues across the world, were discussed in detail.

 “The Premier League’s non-live testing programme will remain in place for the rest of this season, with a continued emphasis on those Saturday afternoons which have several matches being played concurrently, and developing a clear protocol for communicating VAR decisions to fans.”

The Premier League clubs also decided to keep the early closing of the summer transfer window before the start of the season, despite the idea being widely regarded this year as counterproductive and placing them at a disadvantage relative to European rivals.