How Brexit will impact Preston, Swansea and Cardiff as new transfer rules outlined

The United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union next year, with the country in a transition period until December 31.

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 11:38 am
Flyers are distributed, as part of the Get Ready For Brexit campaign, to truck drivers at the terminal of a ferry operator in the port of Rotterdam on December 1, 2020.
Flyers are distributed, as part of the Get Ready For Brexit campaign, to truck drivers at the terminal of a ferry operator in the port of Rotterdam on December 1, 2020.

But how will the UK’s withdrawal from the EU impact football clubs?

Yesterday, Premier League and EFL clubs learned the new rules regarding transfers post-Brexit – including some big changes.

Here, we take you through the new rules and what they will mean.

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What does Brexit mean for Preston’s transfer policy?

Following the confirmation fo the post-Brexit rules on Tuesday evening, it was revealed that clubs in England will no longer be able to sign foreign youngsters under the age of 18.

Premier League and EFL clubs will also be restricted to just three overseas signings under the age of 21 from January onwards, and only six foreign players per season.

Is this good or bad for Preston and football in England?

As ever, there are advantages and disadvantages to the changes depending on how you look at it.

The new rules put Premier League clubs at a distinct disadvantage to clubs in Spain, Germany and France who will still be able to sign youngsters under the age of 21 at will.

That means teams like Dortmund, Barcelona and Bayern Munich can snap up Europe’s brightest young stars and steal a march on their Premier League rivals in European competitions.

However, the rule may yet strengthen the quality of the domestic game in the UK, with homegrown players now afforded greater opportunities to shine with less competition from imported players.

That could strengthen the national teams of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the long-term.

Could this have a knock-on effect on the EFL?


One daunting consequence of the changes will be the raiding of Championship, League One and League Two academy systems, with big clubs no longer able to shop abroad.

That news is potentially devastating news for those clubs, given the compensation dished out for the poaching of young players isn’t always substantial.

What about foreign players over the age of 21?

This is where it gets slightly complicated.

The Premier League, EFL and the Football Association have agreed on a framework with the Home Office for EU players to move to English football on a points basis decided by a Governing Body Endorsement panel.

Points will depend on three factors:

(1) Senior and youth international appearances.

(2) The quality of the selling club, based on the league they are in, league position and progression in continental competition.

(3) Club appearances, based on domestic league and continental competition minutes.

These criteria will provide the basic framework for Premier League and EFL clubs to sign foreign players when the UK eventually leaves the EU next year.

Players who accumulate the right amount of points will be granted a GBE automatically but those who fall short may be considered by an exceptions panel.

What are the Football Association saying about the changes?

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said: “Despite having different starting perspectives on how Brexit should impact football, this is another example of how the football authorities can work effectively together for the greater good of the game.

"We have a strong working relationship with both the Premier League and EFL and will monitor this new agreement together to ensure it evolves to best meet our joint objectives over time.”