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09.01.2021, 18:54

U18 transfers post-Brexit

As of January 1st 2021, English Premier League clubs are banned from signing under-18 footballers from overseas under new rules after the United Kingdom left the European Union. New laws for transfers have been accepted by the Football Association, Premier League and the English Football League.

The regulations are outlined to protect the future of the England national football team whilst allowing domestic clubs to remain competitive. The new rules will also mean that English clubs can no longer sign more than three overseas players under the age of 21 in a single transfer window, which means six young foreign players at most per season. This will allow clubs to produce an increased amount of homegrown players in the top four leagues of English football.

A GBE (Governing Body Endorsement) is now needed to sign for a club in the United Kingdom. The GBE will make use of a points-based system that is similar to the present-day work permit arrangement established for transfers from outside the European Union. Players will need to score 15 points to qualify for a GBE.

Clubs could previously sign EU citizens such as Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin at 16, but now the minimum age is 18. Likewise, British players younger than 18 cannot sign for teams abroad. This means that 17-year-old future English star Jude Bellingham, who signed for Dortmund last year, would not have been able to play in Europe until he turns 18. Jadon Sancho, who is now 21, would have also been prohibited from making his transfer to Dortmund from Manchester City in 2017 under new Brexit rules.

How will this affect the future of English footballers? In my opinion, this puts English football at a disadvantage to other European clubs because clubs will no longer be able to sign future stars who display great potential under the age of 18. This will decrease the quality of the domestic leagues and prevent younger players from Europe making their Premier League debuts.

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