The Football Association have confirmed that Premier League and EFL clubs will not be able to sign foreign players before the age of 18 under new regulations which will be introduced at the end of the Brexit transition period, all new signatures from European Union countries requiring a work permit. which will be awarded according to a point system.
The new regulations, which have been approved by the Premier League and the English Football League, will also see Premier League clubs limited to signing no more than three players under the age of 21 in a single transfer window, which means no more than six per season, in an effort to help produce local talent in professional leagues.
A joint statement released by the FA, Premier League and EFL confirmed the regulations have been approved by the Home Office and will go into effect from January 1 in time for the next transfer window , with current Fifa rules meaning that the end of free movement from the EU to the UK means signing players under the age of 18 can no longer be allowed.
He confirms that Governing Body (GBE) approval will be required to sign for a club in the UK from 2021, with a points threshold having to be met for the player to be legally allowed to work in the UK. United. The points system will take into account international appearances at the senior and junior levels, the club the player is joining, including their league quality, position and continental success, as well as the number of appearances and minutes the player has joined. played.
Players will need to earn 15 points to earn a GBE, and those who have played at least 70% of international matches for a nation ranked in the top 50 over a two-year period (one year for young players) will be awarded automatically. a GBE. This threshold will decrease depending on the place of a nation according to the FIFA rankings, 21-30 requiring 60%, 11-20 requiring 40% and the top 10 only 30%.
Players who do not meet the 15 point threshold may be allowed to join a club if a bye panel approves a club’s appeal provided they score between 10 and 14 points.
The statement read: “After Brexit, clubs will not be able to freely recruit players from the EU. Players from EU countries who wish to play in the Premier League or EFL will need to earn a GBE, just like all other foreign players without the right to work in the UK.
“In the Premier League, the number of foreign players under the age of 21 that a club can sign will be limited to three during the January transfer window and to six per season. This helps recruit the best players from around the world to train and play with local talent.
“Under Fifa rules, the UK’s exit from the EU will also mean that clubs will not be able to recruit players from overseas before the age of 18.”
FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham said: “Despite different starting perspectives on the impact of Brexit on football, this is another example of how football authorities can work effectively together for the greatest good of football.
“We have a strong working relationship with the Premier League and the EFL and will jointly monitor this new deal to ensure it evolves to best meet our common goals over time. We will also discuss improvements to the player course for the mutual benefit of football clubs. and local talent in this country. ”
The deal ends four years of wrangling between the FA and the Premier League over squad limits in Britain after Brexit, with clubs initially cautious against accepting restrictions that could have prevented them from d ” have access to the best European players.
The FA has been keen to use the transition to help give local young talent a greater platform to develop, although the governing body has conceded some ground on its imposed limits, adding up to three signings. under 21 per window consistent with a number of current club strategies. However, the FA is hoping that the limit on new hires, combined with the inability to recruit under-18s from overseas, will avoid stockpiling in clubs that block the production line of future local talent.
Richard Masters, Premier League chief executive, added: “The Premier League has been working with the FA to come to an agreement so that no part of Brexit is detrimental to the success of the Premier League or the prospects of the teams in England. We welcome the news that the Home Office has approved the Board’s approval plan for the January 2021 transfer window.
“By continuing to recruit the best players, the Premier League will remain competitive and compelling and the solution will complement our philosophy of developing top talent from abroad alongside the best local players. After the January transfer window, we look forward to reviewing the deal with the FA.
The new regulations will be reviewed after next summer’s transfer window, and the Under-21 restrictions will only apply to Premier League clubs, meaning that the Championship, League one and League two will be able to recruit as many players between 18 and 21 years old. as they wish as long as they reach the GBE threshold.
Women’s teams will also be subject to a similar pattern, although appearances in international youth teams are not reflected in current guidelines.