Premier League worried Brexit will harm league’s global popularity and damage competitive nature

5 Sep

Premier League bosses are becoming increasingly concerned Brexit will seriously impact the league’s competitiveness and global popularity.

The government has been urged to abolish all restrictions on signing foreign players, or risk missing out on some of the best talent in Europe.

The Premier League is worried about the effect of Brexit

An exclusive by The Daily Telegraph has revealed the Premier League fear the next N’Golo Kante would not be granted a work permit after Brexit.

With just over six months until the UK leaves the European Union, the Premier League hierarchy are still waiting for clarification on a number of key issues.

Namely, they want to know if there will be a restriction on signing European players after Brexit and if clubs will have to fill a homegrown-player quota.

There are fears the Football Association will use Brexit as an opportunity to increase the opportunities for young English talent – made more prevalent after Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate bemoaned a lack of English talent at his disposal.

Premier League clubs will not be allowed to sign European players under the age of 18 – like Arsenal did with Fabregas

It has been accepted there it will be almost impossible for clubs to sign European players under the age of 18 like Arsenal did with Hector Bellerin and Cesc Fabregas, or how Manchester United did with Paul Pogba and Gerard Pique.

Their case is supported by statistics proving football should be treated as a special case; the Premier League generates over £3billion in tax for the Treasury and directly employs over 12,000 people.

The main of contention lies in the acquiring of work permits for top players.

According to a study by Harvard data scientist Laurie Shaw, 591 of the 1,022 players signed by top-flight clubs in Premire League history with passports for a country in the EEA would not have qualified for a work permit.

N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez joined Leicester City for relatively low transfer fees and helped the team to a Premier League win in 2016. But Brexit terms may mean they struggle to compete for top-level signings

Shaw’s research shows that less wealthy clubs would suffer the most. Players like Kante and Riyad Mahrez would not have qualified for a work permit according to Shaw.

Most players at clubs such as Leicester City do not feature regularly for top-60 international teams – meaning the competitive balance would skew in favour of far wealthier clubs who can afford to pay bigger transfer fees for players.

John Motson believes lure of overseas riches will see clubs like Manchester United play Premier League games abroad

18 Aug

John Motson has conceded the Premier League could emulate LaLiga by playing a selection of games abroad because of the lure of the huge riches.

It was announced on Friday that LaLiga officials have entered a 15-year deal with American company Relevant to bring soccer to North America.

A billboard in New York City shows former Spurs hero Gareth Bale

As a result, an official LaLiga game could be played on US shores as soon as this season.

For fans of the English game, it invokes memories of the infamous ‘39th game’ proposed by Richard Scudamore during his tenure as Premier League chief.

And while it may not happen soon, Motson believes it is a very real possibility in the future.

He told MatchDay Live on talkSPORT: “If Manchester United were to play, say Tottenham, and decided to play the home game in China and the away game in the United States and those games counted as part of the league programme – well I can just about envisage that.

Manchester United faced Real Madrid at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami in pre-season

“I don’t necessarily think it’s going to happen, I don’t think it’s going to happen in the next couple of seasons maybe, but that’s the kind of reach we’re talking about.

“What you have to remember; most of the Premier League television money is coming from overseas and most of the clubs (the big clubs this is) their commercial income; shirt sales and all that sort of stuff is growing day-by-day in the 200 territories that the Premier League now covers.

“So it would be a PR exercise and a money-making exercise commercially, rather than just necessarily drag all our fans over there.

“But all I’m saying to you today is the LaLiga decision, which sounds to me to be pretty definite, I think it has re-opened the debate.”

Former Premier League referee slams Mike Riley and the standard of Premier League referees after Bobby Madley’s shock departure

17 Aug

Keith Hackett has slammed referee’s chief Mike Riley and blamed him for the departures of several leading English referees.

The former Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) managing director was speaking in the wake of the departure of Bobby Madley and questioned Riley’s role.

Madley decided to quit aged just 32

The PGMOL is responsible for overseeing all Premier League matches, with Riley operating as Hackett’s successor.

The body announced the departure of Madley on Thursday evening, despite the 32-year-old recently being promoted to the list of FIFA officials.

Hackett told Press Association Sport: “It’s on him (Riley). And I’ve got to ask why did (Mark) Clattenburg leave? Why did (Howard) Webb leave? Why did Mark Halsey leave? All early.”

The PGMOL on Thursday said Madley had “decided to relocate due to a change in his personal circumstances”.

Former referee Mike Riley is now the managing director of PGMOL

Hackett expressed disappointment at Madley’s move and suggested PGMOL, now with 17 top-tier match officials, could be forced to look abroad for referees of the desired standard.

Hackett added: “A few years ago I looked very carefully, when I was the boss of PGMOL, to bring in some overseas referees. I think he (Riley) is going to have to do that.

“If any referee sustains a long-term injury, then they’re down to the bare bones.

“Do we question the ability of bringing in foreign players? What is different to refereeing?

“Exchange programmes exist. I’m thinking for a short-term plan, in the event someone gets injured, rather than exposing our young referees coming into the system.”

It is understood utilising foreign officials is not something being considered by PGMOL. There is a secondary group of referees who could be called upon if required.

Hackett says it takes two to three years for referees to be established and believes Riley is stifling the progress of officials.

Keith Hackett sends off Tony Gale in an FA Cup semi-final tie against Nottingham Forest

He also questioned Premier League clubs’ decision not to use VAR this season.

Hackett said: “I think there is a block in the system that prevents the referees getting appointed out of the Football League and into the Premier League. And that’s down to the management of the PGMOL.”