EU Referendum: How the Leave Vote May Affect Liverpool FC

Matt Ladson@mattladsonFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2016

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 10:  A general view outside the stadium and development work prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on April 10, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The United Kingdom's unprecedented decision to vote to leave the European Union will have far-reaching consequences, many of which won't be seen for years or indeed decades to come.

Never before has a country voted to leave the EU, so the future is, to say the least, unknown.

Liverpool as a city, the European Capital of Culture in 2008, has benefited greatly from EU funding over the last 20 years, as explained by the Liverpool Echo before the vote. The decision to leave the EU will have a significant impact on Merseyside.

No wonder, then, that Liverpool voted to remain. "Now there is no certainty other than uncertainty," said Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson, per Liam Murphy of the Echo:

We have investment in this city from the EU and we have to look at what this means.

We also have to look at where does this leave companies in the city that are dependent on EU trade and investment.

I will be urgently talking with people to look at how we engage with them, and also talking to the Government and UKTI about how we respond to the situation."

Sport and football isn't of the greatest importance in the abyss that the UK has been plunged into, but there are certain aspects relating to sportsmen and women that can be detailed.

The Telegraph's Daniel Schofield and Cristina Criddle explain that the "freedom of movement principle allows sportsmen and women from the EU to ply their trade in the UK without needing a work permit that the majority of non-EU citizens require."

That means, "more than 100 Premier League players would have failed to have gained a work permit" including Liverpool's Brazilian-born attacker Philippe Coutinho.

Coutinho signed for Liverpool from Inter Milan in 2013, after five years at the Serie A side. Coutinho's move to Anfield required a work permit application as he didn't automatically qualify at the time due to having only one cap for his country, per James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo.

Had Liverpool been attempting to sign Coutinho with the UK not being part of the EU, the player would not have gone on to wear the No. 10 for the Reds.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool celebrates the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool at Etihad Stadium on December 26, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Liv
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Furthermore, a report in the Telegraph lists eight current Liverpool players—Emre Can, Alberto Moreno, Jose Enrique, Adam Bogdan, Simon Mignolet, Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Iloriwho would not automatically qualify for permits.

Liverpool, of course, aren't alone in this problem, with players such as Dimitri Payet, N’Golo Kante and Anthony Martial also named as not being permitted. Previous Premier League players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry and David Ginola are also named

It's no wonder Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore said all Premier League clubs backed remaining in the EU, per Sky News.

   

Changes

Leaving the EU will take two years from when Article 50 is triggered, per Matthew Holehouse of the Telegraph, so these changes won't be instant.

What you could now see over these coming transfer windows is English clubs signing young players they won't be able to sign once the UK has officially left the EU.

This is particularly relevant with regards to young players aged from 16 to 18, because English clubs will no longer be able to sign players from EU countries before they turn 18.

The EU has a special clause in FIFA's transfer laws that means players can be signed within the EU when they turn 16, worldwide it is 18, per ESPN's Dale Johnson.

So current Spanish academy duo Pedro Chirivella and Sergi Canos would not have been able to sign for Liverpool had the UK not been part of the EU. Similarly, Arsenal would not have been able to sign Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona when he was 16.

SWANSEA, WALES - MAY 01: Pedro Chirivella of Liverpool is closed down by Andre Ayew of Swansea City during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Liverpool at The Liberty Stadium on May 1, 2016 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Steve Barde
Steve Bardens/Getty Images

The knock-on effect here is that clubs may be forced to look to recruit and develop more homegrown players from within the UK, rather than in Europe.

This, of course, opens up the debate about developing more English players and how that might benefit the national team. So there could yet be a plus-side for England. Small mercies.

Elsewhere, the UK leaving the EU will have an impact on the economy, with sterling falling to a 31-year low as the Leave campaign moved towards victory overnight, per ITV, and the FTSE suffering big falls, too.

As explained by Adam Shergold for MailOnline, the knock-on effect on transfer fees will likely see Premier League clubs facing hiked prices when attempting to purchase from around Europe, at least in the short term.

If a club bid €40 million for a player a week ago, that's risen from £31 million to £34 million now. 

Clubs may find it more difficult to fill hospitality and corporate areas if large businesses choose or simply must move some of their business interests to cities based within the EU. 

Long-term, how the economical changes affect Premier League clubs—who are to benefit from new TV deals worth a combined £8.3 billion next season—only time will tell. 

Meanwhile, supporters who travel to away games in Europe are likely to find their prices for flights will be more expensive and their mobile-phone roaming charges no longer being protected by EU ruling, per Simon Calder of the Independent, not to mention their pounds not going as far as they did at the exchange counters.

Football will be the least of the concerns for the 48 per cent of the UK population who voted to remain—many passionately and through thorough research—as the country now enters a time of instability and unpredictability.

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