How the UK vote to leave the EU could hit Premier League hard

Dimitri Payet would not have qualified for a work permit under non-EU rules
Dimitri Payet would not have qualified for a work permit under non-EU rules

It is being speculated today that the decision by the UK to exit could reduce the flow of stars to the Premier League.

During the Brexit campaign there had been some comment on what impact UK leaving the EU would have on the Premier League.

Now that the UK has voted to leave, here are some of the potential problems for fans of the league.

As it stands any player with an EU passport can play in Premier League without having to apply for a work permit.

Big names from other countries like Diego Costa and Philippe Coutinho took out EU citizenship, allowing them to play in the Premier League.

However, if the UK's exit means that all non UK players will have to go through the current Home Office rules on non EU players, then many big names would not have been eligible to play.

The rules require players to have played a certain amount of internationals before they can be deemed worthy of a permit, and that can be especially difficult when it comes to buying young players.

Take Cristiano Ronaldo as an example. When Man United signed him in 2003 he had only just made his debut for Portugal and would not have qualified. 

Other huge names who would probably have failed the current test are Thierry Henry and current stars Dimitri Payet, N’Golo Kante and Anthony Martial.

While it is highly unlikely that the Home Office will apply the rules to existing players, it may lead to a much more difficult process for teams to recruit.

The Telegraph quoted one expert before the vote.

What will happen is that all our sporting bodies will have to sit down, look at all their rules and decide whether to emulate what they already have in relation to European nationals, i.e. Give them preferential treatment, or do we fit the European nationals into the rules we currently have in the UK or do we want to write completely new rules?” Maria Patsalos, a Sports Immigration Partner at Mishcon de Reya LLP, said. “It is unlikely in football for instance that European nationals will have the same freedom as they have now if Britain votes to leave the EU.”

With the UK now deciding to leave, we'll have to wait and see what the impact on that most international of leagues will be.