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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
“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.
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“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.”
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.
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”.
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?
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“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.
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.”
Stan Kroenke could be set to take full control of Arsenal after Alisher Usmanov began actively looking to sell his 30.4 per cent stake in the club.
The American owner, hugely unpopular with fans since his 2011 takeover, currently owns 67 per cent of shares, and Usmanov has finally admitted defeat as he recognises Kroenke will never let him control the club.
Nine months after rejecting Kroenke’s offer, the Financial Times report that the Uzbek has now decided to sell up as he concedes Kroenke will never allow him to control Arsenal.
Should Kroenke purchase the shares, he would likely go on to buy up the remaining 2.6 per cent of shares as well, giving him full ownership of the club.
It is a move which has outraged the club’s fans.
An Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) spokesman told the Evening Standard: “The AST would be very concerned at any outcome that saw the club wholly owned by Stan Kroenke.
“If he bought Alisher Usmanov‘s shares, the likelihood is he would take the club private, forcing out the remaining custodian shareholders.
“This would reduce scrutiny in how Arsenal operate and allow its corporate structure to be moved to the United States.
“It would not be good for those who care about Arsenal being run the right way.
“Arsenal is too important to be owned by any one person and there should be a plurality of ownership, including supporters, involved in the club.
“There would be concern at the idea that Stan Kroenke has absolute control of Arsenal Football Club and the likelihood that its legal status would be transferred to the United States.
“The AST believe that Usmanov’s holding is important for maintaining plurality and have always called for the board to work with Usmanov to make Arsenal stronger.
“Stan Kroenke’s refusal to engage with supporters, including breaking a pledge he made at the time of his takeover, demonstrates why this would alarm all Arsenal fans who care how the club is run.”
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Kroenke, who also owns six sports franchises in his homeland, first became a shareholder at Arsenal in 2007 and joined the board of directors a year later when his stake grew to 29 per cent.
His 2011 takeover gave him 62.9 per cent of voting rights at the club as he bought the shares held by Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith and the late Danny Fiszman.
In addition to Arsenal, his firm Kroenke Sports & Entertainment also have a controlling stake in the Los Angeles Rams (NFL), the Colorado Rapids (MLS), the Denver Nuggets (NBA) and the Colorado Avalanche (NHL), as well as lacrosse team the Colorado Mammoth.
Forbes estimate Kroenke’s net worth to be $8.3bn (£6.3bn), making him the 183rd-richest person in the world, while Usmanov is valued at $12.7bn (£9.7bn), placing him 118th.
His son Josh is gaining a growing influence at Arsenal, and was said to have been instrumental in the club’s recent governance changes, which included the departure of Arsene Wenger as manager after 22 years at the club.
Father Stan is a very infrequent visitor to Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, instead spending the vast majority of his year in the US where he was ranked as the country’s ninth-biggest landowner in 2015.
This absence from British soil has riled Gunners fans in the past, as has his reluctance to give interviews or answer questions at the club’s Annual General Meetings, which he does usually attend.
He also drew criticism in August last year for launching a new sports TV channel which includes shows that involve big game hunting, with elephants and lions being killed in the making of programmes, which he then ordered to be removed from the channel.
The new manager is not the only key figure demanding arrivals at the club, with Eden Hazard also said to be on his way out if they do not spend big this summer.
After a disastrous league campaign under Antonio Conte saw them finish fifth in 2017/18, big-name signings will be crucial to keeping Chelsea’s stars, but with no Champions League to offer this may prove difficult.
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With Jack Wilshere departing the club when his deal expires in June, Ramsey will be among the first names on the teamsheet, likely alongside £26million Sampdoria man Torreira.
The Uruguayan is set to become Arsenal‘s third signing of the summer after Stephan Lichtsteiner and Bernd Leno, with Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos not far behind.
The deal for Ramsey is reportedly five years according to the Telegraph, following on from long-term contracts signed by fellow midfielders Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles this summer.
Torreira could line up in a central midfield trio alongside Xhaka and Ramsey in a new-look Arsenal side, although that could mean one of Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Alexandre Lacazette missing out.
One player certain of his spot in the team is club-record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who signed in a £56m deal from Dortmund in January.
Aubameyang, is thought to be one of two players, Ramsey being the other, who Emery sees as indispensable.
Arsenal finished outside the Champions League places for a second consecutive season in 2017/18, leading to Arsene Wenger’s 22-year reign coming to an end.
Emery is keen to bring them back to Europe’s top tier as soon as possible, with the raft of new deals and incomings already putting his mark on the club.
Speaking to fans on Wednesday night, Emery outlined his intentions to play an attacking style, saying: “I prefer to win 5-4 than 1-0 because football is about emotion and what is the best feeling in football? When you score.”
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis heralded a new era for the club with a first managerial appointment since 1996.
He said: “We really have a collective effort now, in terms of how we identify players and then how we take forward our interest, and of course Unai is a huge part of that.
“This is now a different way of doing things, one with a very, very accomplished team of professionals who we have spent time bedding into the club.”
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Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has revealed he booked a Premier League player who deliberately asked for a yellow card.
The player, who Halsey did not name, wanted to be suspended before a big derby game in 2011 so he could remain fresh.
Halsey’s shocking revelation comes just hours before England face Belgium in a crucial World Cup group game where the winner will top the group.
With both sides level on points, goals scored and goal difference, bookings could play an important role in deciding who tops the table.
And when asked if he had ever deliberately booked a player, Halsey was more than happy to divulge.
Speaking to American news channel CNN, he recalled how the player said: “He’s just said ‘listen, look, we’ve got a game Tuesday. If I don’t get cautioned now and get one Tuesday, I’ll miss the big derby on the Saturday.
“So he just asked me if I could show a yellow. And I did actually.
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“I said to him, ‘Alright, we’ve got 10 minutes to go, when I give a free-kick against you’ — and I knew I would because he’s that sort of player — ‘just leather the ball 50 yards away and I can caution you for dissent.’
“If you’ve got big games coming up and you’re on four yellow cards, one more means you get suspended. I just said to him, ‘Don’t do nothing stupid.’
“He came up to me at the end of the game and said, ‘Thanks for that Mark.'”
Fenerbahce have kicked off talks with Chelsea over a deal for Marco van Ginkel.
As talkSPORT told you on Wednesday, the Turkish club are interested in the midfielder.
The 25-year-old spent last season on loan at PSV Eindhoven and he impressed with a number of strong performances.
Van Ginkel’s manager for his time at the Dutch club was former midfielder Phillip Cocu, who is now set to takeover at Fenerbahce.
The Turkish giants are in talks with 47-year-old coach and as part of negotiations they have asked him who he wants to sign.
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And, according to Milliyet, Cocu has pressed so hard for van Ginkel that Fenerbahce are now in talks with Chelsea.
The two clubs have kicked off negotiations and there is hope a deal could be struck quickly.
Chelsea are currently deciding whether to loan van Ginkel out again – or let him leave permanently.
Former Arsenal assistant coach Jens Lehmann has left the club as new boss Unai Emery named his backroom staff ahead of the upcoming Premier League season.
While Arsene Wenger’s deputy Steve Bould will remain at the club, the ex-Germany international will depart.
But did he take to Twitter to have cheeky dig at his former employers?
The former assistant coach addressed Arsenal fans following his dismissal on the social media site, suggesting the attitude from the Invincibles era is no longer needed at the club.
He wrote: “Dear Arsenal Fans, I am sorry to leave the club after only one year again.
“It was a good experience working with the players as one of the assistant-coaches.
“But the attitude from our 2004-group is not needed there anymore.”
Dear #Arsenal Fans , I am sorry to leave the club after only one year again. It was a good experience working with the players as one of the assistant-coaches. But the attitude from our 2004-group is not needed there anymore.
“I am happy and I am proud to sign a new contract here for Arsenal and I hope for good results in the future.”
Arsenal did not disclose the length of his new deal.
Xhaka joined Arsenal from German side Borussia Monchengladbach in May 2016, and went on to win the FA Cup in his first season.
New Arsenal head coach Unai Emery said on the club’s website: “I’m delighted that Granit has extended his contract with us.
“He’s an important member of the squad and is still young so will be able to develop even more.
“I hope he has a successful World Cup with Switzerland and comes back fit and ready for the new season.”
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Emery is preparing to take Arsenal forward following the departure of long-serving manager Arsene Wenger.
The Spaniard’s first competitive match in charge will see champions Manchester City visit the Emirates Stadium on the opening weekend.
By then, Arsenal are expected to have brought in more fresh talent.
Swiss defender Stephan Lichtsteiner has arrived on a free from Juventus, while a potential Ł27million deal for Sampdoria midfielder Lucas Torreira, who was a late substitute as Uruguay opened their World Cup campaign with a 1-0 win over Egypt, is understood to be in the pipeline.
Confirmation of a move for centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund is expected at the start of July, while Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno is another reported target as Arsenal plot their way back into the Premier League’s top four.
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