Brexit is coming into FM20. No, that’s not the tagline to Boris Johnson’s Game of Thrones themed leaving-do but instead a reality that the United Kingdom is facing, whether we like it or not. Regardless of if or what you voted in the referendum, because fundamentally this is Dictate the Game and not Newsnight, many of us are sick to death of hearing about it.
Britain will likely leave the European Union at the end of October. When it happens, there will be reverberations throughout our day to day lives. From the cost of imported cheeses to new football regulations, we have lots to look forward to. The latter will be the focus of this article, to see how Brexit will impact British football and, consequently, our Football Manager saves.
How will Brexit affect British football?
First and foremost, it is important to set out the basics. The effects of Brexit are largely hypothetical and complex but there are a few things we know for certain. In case it wasn’t obvious, Brexit will not have any impact on the membership of UK nations in UEFA. Therefore, clubs from Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland will remain in UEFA club competitions and the nations will still participate in the Nations League and Euros.
However, other areas of British football might end up affected. One of the main grey areas at the moment is regarding new regulations for European players transferring to the UK. At the moment, there is a work permit system for signing non-EU players. Work permits revolve around how many times a player has played for his national side in the past year. However, there is an appeal system that takes a whole plethora of criteria into consideration.
The new regulations regarding the signing of European players will largely depend on how the UK leaves. A soft Brexit will likely lead to few new rules. However, a hard Brexit throws everything up in the air. In that situation, we could see work permits introduced for all European players coming to UK teams.
It may become difficult for signing youth players too. Current FIFA regulations only allow the transfer of players between 16 and 18 if the two clubs are within EU territory. If the UK leaves, it will no longer be a part of that territory and will complicate the signing of youth talents.
How will Brexit affect existing EU players in the UK?
As for existing European players in the UK, there should be little problem regarding these. Although people being refused residence is all over the news, this is unlikely to affect professional footballers. That said, many might still leave the UK; this is dependent on the socio-economic situation of the country post-Brexit.
In 2018, the Football Association submitted proposals to increase the required number of homegrown players. Therefore possibly limiting the number of overseas players in Premier League squads. The FA aim to reduce the globalisation of the top flight and this could well happen in post-Brexit Britain.
What are the implications of Brexit on FM20?
Anyone who’s played FM19 recently should be familiar with the in-game Brexit messages. In some circumstances, you can receive an in-game email confirming that the UK will not be leaving the EU. In others, the game informs you of new regulations. Obviously this is all RNG at the moment but soon we will see the real implications of Brexit on Football Manager.
If we want to look for positives, we could probably assume that managing British clubs is going to become more of a challenge. With a pseudo-transfer handicap, the difficulty level will go up and undoubtedly be a tougher job. That said, many experienced FM players will relish this challenge.
Overall, it’s an interesting time for politics! It may even be a turning point in sport history. Whatever happens, the footballing world will feel these implications. As Football Manager players, we will all certainly be keeping an interested eye on developments. You won’t see the real effects until at least FM21 regardless.
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