Why Brexit Isn’t Good For The England Team?
Anxiety over the economic impacts of Brexit have plagued businesses
in the UK, Europe and around the world since the 2016 Referendum.
The UK government’s lack of clarity
and failure to negotiate a smooth transition out of European Union
has left an immeasurable amount of potential impacts on businesses.
and English football is not immune from the impacts.
With the Premier League’s brand as ‘the best league in the world’,
through its multinational inclusion of the best footballing talent under threat,
Through the Maastricht treaty,
and the subsequent Bosman Ruling in 1995,
the Premier League has hugely benefitted from the freedom of labour movement within the EU.
Brexit, for obvious reasons, could hinder their movement.
EU players and those from European Economic Area countries
will be subject to the same visa and work permit restrictions as players
from countries outside of the EU,
making the criteria for signing players stricter.
According to football finance lecturer Kieran Maguire,
this would potentially push up the price of imports by “ 10 to 15 percent ” due to the extra paperwork.
The FA, however, see Brexit as an opportunity.
The number of English players playing in the Premier League
has been negatively affected by the appetite for foreign players.
During the inaugural Premier League season in 1992-93,
English players started 70% of games.
In the 2017/18 season, English players started just 33% of games,
a significant reduction and far less than the proportion of native talents
in the Bundesliga (47.1%), La Liga (58%), Serie A (42.8%) and Ligue 1 (53.2%).
In November 2018, the FA published its plan to reduce
the current threshold of non-homegrown players
in a club’s 25-man squad from 17 to 13 by 2021
and have stated that these changes are regardless of any specificities
in a deal negotiated between the British government and the European Union
The FA believe that Brexit would allow English players to receive more game-time and,
therefore, better development.
The Premier League has categorically rejected this view,
stating that there is “no evidence that stronger quotas than exist now
would have a positive impact on national teams”.
While the FA’s argument seems logical
it is likely based on a series of ideas driven by confirmation bias.
The English national team has underperformed relative to public expectation
since the inception of the Premier League.
This view was exacerbated by the fortunes
of the ill-fated ‘golden generation’ of the mid to late 2000s.
English clubs, littered with integral English players,
were performing exceptionally in European competitions.
Between 2004/05 and 2008/09
there was an English club in every final of the Champions League
and an incredible three out of four in the semi-finals of 07/08 and 08/09.
The likes of Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard,
像加里·内维尔 里奥·费迪南 约翰·泰利 阿什利·科尔 史蒂文·杰拉德
Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Wayne Rooney
弗兰克·兰帕德 保罗·史高斯 大卫·贝克汉姆和韦恩·鲁尼
were all star quality players
able to be decisive for the clubs on the grandest of stages.
For the national team, however, the group disappointed.
然而 就国家队来说 该团队令人失望
Speaking before the low point of the generation,
the defeat to Croatia which confirmed England’s failure to qualify for Euro2008,
Gerrard aired his views on England’s struggles:
“ I think there is a risk of too many foreign players coming over,
which would affect our national team eventually if it’s not already.
It is important we keep producing players.”
This theme of thinking was echoed by numerous other figures in the game,
including Sir Alex Ferguson, Sepp Blatter
Michel Platini and the FA’s chairman Greg Dyke.
However, Stefan Szymanski and Simon Kuper’s Soccernomics
highlights the problems with import substitution
in specific reference to English football.
If English clubs were allowed to discriminate against players from foreign countries,
they claim , the quality would decline
due to not just factors relating to quality,
but motivation for native footballers;
“ If inferior English players were handed places in Premier League teams,
they would have little incentive to improve.”
This is because due to the transparent nature of football’s labour market,
economic theory dictates that,
in the instance of free labour movement,
the best players naturally congregate in the best quality leagues
due to the meritocratic nature of football’s finances
and the promotion and relegation structure.
Therefore, English footballers have the distinct advantage
of the world’s premier football competition in their back garden;
the highest development standard is set for them.
Szymanski and Kuper back up their hypothesis with statistics,
comparing England’s performances in the era of a ‘ British league ’,
from 1968 to 1992,
with their performances since 1998
deliberately leaving out the 1966 World Cup,
as it was an anomaly played exclusively at home.
They found that ‘In that first ‘British’ period up to 1992,
England reached just one World Cup semi-final, in 1990.
And that was an exception.
In those years, England reached the quarter-finals of major tournaments
only four times in 13 attempts.
By contrast, in the “international” period since 1998,
they have reached four quarter-finals in just eight attempts.
Moreover, their win percentage at major tournaments
jumped from 52% in 1968-1992 to 62% in the ‘international’ period
The figures suggest that if anything,
the international league has been good for the England team.
Furthermore, Szymanski and Kuper’s statistical research took place
took place before the 2018 World Cup,
a tournament in which England reached the semi-final.
The Premier League’s claim that there is “no evidence
that stronger quotas would have a positive impact on national teams”
certainly passes the eye test.
The very fact that the Premier League is so fiercely competitive on a weekly basis
事实上 以周为单位的英超 竞争太过激烈
both improves the development of English-born players by setting a higher bar,
but negatively affects the national team
in a way unrelated to talent development – exhaustion.
Wayne Rooney playing successive World Cups while half-fit is a classic example.
The Premier League’s competitiveness also makes clubs’ reliance on key players,
sometimes in the form of rushing them back from injury.
This can lead to severe drops in form or reoccurring injuries,
neither of which are particularly useful to the national team.
To combat exhaustion, the FA have agreed with
the Premier League to introduce a ‘winter break’,
a ten-day hiatus in February, from the 2019/20 season onwards.
While this is a very short break in comparison to other European leagues
it is a significant step in the right direction
along with the scrapping of the FA Cup 5th round replays
It seems, therefore, that England’s perceived’ underperformance
is less the fault of foreign imports in the Premier League
but more related to the unforgiving nature of the English football calendar
and managing squad harmony.
Meaning of course, that whatever talent drain results from Brexit
is unlikely to be directly linked to a dramatic improvement
in the national team’s fortunes.
Why Brexit Isn’t Good For The England Team?