9th May 2016
How the football business could be affected if the UK votes to leave the European Union
UCFB Wembley Convener of Law Genevieve Gordon says the football business will be heavily affected if the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union.
BA (Hons) Sports Business & Sports Law students at the iconic Wembley Stadium campus are continually learning and understanding the industry with lectures including player contract negotiations, but these kind of deals could soon change if the UK opts to leave the EU on June 23rd.
Speaking on the issue of a possible “Brexit”, Genevieve said focussing on football gave a good insight and understanding of how a possible EU exit could affect the major sports in the UK.
Players and managers would find it harder to move around the EU and the choice of players available to clubs could diminish, meaning a drop in quality in the British leagues and therefore a drop in commercial activities for clubs.
Genevieve said: “Europe is renowned for the ideology of the fundamental freedoms. One of those is free movement between European Union states. Obviously if we leave the EU this will no longer be a benefit to British citizens. The negative impact could mean players, managers and coaches will find it harder to enter countries remaining in the EU and require visas to move around legally which are often a laborious process to gain. There is always the possibility that a visa is denied which brings its own logistical concerns.
“Perhaps a new legislation supporting EU football players will allow for discrimination issues to be highlighted. How can footballers be allowed one rule and other workers another? For the Premier League to continue unscathed we would have to allow other workers the opportunity to apply whilst in residence and whilst continuing with their jobs.”
Geneviene added: “If we leave the European Union there is the possibility that the choice of players available to make up our current top flight teams will be greatly diminished and the Premier League could fall behind other European leagues such as La Liga or Serie A. This would have an impact on the commercial activities of clubs as well. For instance, some players would not be as accessible for commercial gain and subsequently commercial contracts may be compromised in the process of leaving the European Union.”
Genevieve went on to add that other issues that must be considered include the multi-billion pound broadcast deals the Premier League currently enjoys and the application of funding for the grassroots game. There is also the possibility the UK could leave itself wide open to match fixing and doping issues.