Premier League, EFL and the FA reach agreement on post-Brexit deals

Premier League, EFL and the FA reach agreement on post-Brexit transfers – with new signings from the European Union required to meet threshold via points-based system

  • The FA, Premier League and EFL have agreed a plan for players post-Brexit
  • The three bodies have outlined requirements for a player to be eligible to join
  • Post-Brexit, clubs will not be able to sign players freely from the European Union
  • Instead, those EU players will require a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE), which will work as a points-based system in place for non-EU players currently 

The Football Association, Premier League and EFL have reached an agreement on a plan for player eligibility post-Brexit. 

Sportsmail revealed last month that an agreement in principle had been reached on access to overseas talent for the January transfer window and the three bodies were awaiting Home Office sign-off. 

That confirmation arrived on Tuesday and in a joint-statement the FA, Premier League and EFL stated that clubs will no longer be able to sign players from the European Union freely. 

Players from European Union countries will need to earn 15 points in a new eligibility ruling for transfers once Great Britain completes Brexit and leaves the EU at the start of next year

Players from EU countries will be required to gain a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE), which will work as a points-based system in place for non-EU players currently.

Players will need 15 points to come to the UK. When talks began, the Premier League had wanted that to be nine points while the FA, keen to increase the number of homegrown players, pushed for 18. 

There are three criteria for senior and youth players which earns points for their application.

  • Senior and youth international appearances
  • Quality of the selling club, based on the league they are in, league position and progression in continental competition
  • Club appearances, based on domestic league and continental competition minutes  

Players who meet the required threshold will automatically qualify for a GBE and there is also an Exceptions Panel for those who fall just short.   

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said the top flight welcomes the new plan

The Exceptions Panel can make calls on those who score between 12 and 14 points. 

A statement on behalf of the FA, Premier League and EFL stated that the plan ensures they can all meet ‘joint objectives’ to both continue to house the best talent in Europe while also protecting chances for homegrown players. 

In the Premier League, there will be a cap on the number of overseas Under-21 players any one club can sign. The limit in the January window will be three and it will rise to six per season from then on.  

The new agreement will come into force once Great Britain’s exit from the EU is confirmed at the start of 2021.  

Richard Masters, the Premier League’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The Premier League has worked with The FA to come to an agreement to ensure no part of Brexit should damage the success of the Premier League, or the prospects of the England teams.

‘We welcome the news that the Home Office has approved the Governing Body Endorsement plan for the January 2021 transfer window.

EFL clubs will also adhere to the new system regarding player transfer eligibility post-Brexit

‘Continuing to be able to recruit the best players will see the Premier League remain competitive and compelling and the solution will complement our player development philosophy of the best foreign talent alongside the best homegrown players. Following the January transfer window, we look forward to reviewing the agreement with The FA.’ 

David Baldwin, chief executive of the EFL, added: ‘The EFL has contributed to the discussions with our colleagues across football as the game prepares for the UK’s exit from the EU, and it is helpful to be able to provide clarity for EFL clubs by having an established position to a long-standing issue ahead of the January transfer window, albeit in the short term.

‘The objective of the EFL throughout this process has been to ensure EFL clubs continue to have the opportunity to sign players from overseas to enhance the quality of their playing squads, while recognising the need for restrictions, and we will continue to assess the application of these rules and consider the long-term implications early in 2021.’ 

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