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English football's governing bodies agree points-based system post Brexit

The FA, English Premier League and the English Football League (EFL) have agreed plans for the entry requirements for overseas players, which will see a points-based system in operation.

Football’s Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) proposal was approved by The Home Office after being submitted by The FA last month. The new criteria will provide the framework for how Premier League and EFL clubs sign overseas players upon the UK leaving the European Union (EU) after 31 December 2020.

Post Brexit, clubs will no longer be allowed to sign players freely from the EU but will be required to gain a GBE, like all other overseas players without the right to work in the UK.

The GBE will operate a points-based system, where points are scored for senior and talented young players based on:

· 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 accumulate the required number of points will automatically earn a GBE, with players who fall just below the threshold having to be considered for a GBE by an Exceptions Panel.

The new system is said to have been welcomed by the Premier League and The FA as it provides clubs with the best players and future talents, whilst simultaneously protecting future England teams by ensuring more opportunities for homegrown players.

“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,” said Mark Bullingham, The FA’s chief executive officer.

“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. We will also discuss improvements to the player pathway for the mutual benefit of football clubs and homegrown talent in this country.”

In the Premier League, clubs will be limited to signing just three under-21 players in the January transfer window and six per season moving forwards. However, clubs will not be able to sign overseas players until they are 18 once the UK has left the EU.

In a statement from The FA, they claimed that “the leading football bodies have also agreed to work together to continue to improve the player pathway system”.

The new government criteria will come into effect in the new year, meaning that will impact the January 2021 transfer window and will be reviewed ahead of the summer 2021 window.

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.

“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.”

EFL Chief Executive, David Baldwin, 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.”

Author: Jake Wilkin