How The Brexit Will Affect Football

The Brexit’s impact looks to be wider than simply business, the economy and immigration. Baroness Karen Brady has voiced her concerns that there would be devastating consequences for Britain’s football clubs if Britain votes to leave the EU. A Brexit would force a number of European footballers playing in England to leave the country. The Conservative peer wrote; cutting ourselves off from Europe could have devastating consequences for the economy and the competitiveness of British football. Such a decision would stand in stark contrast to football’s spirit of openness and inclusion.

Independent analysis has shown that two thirds of European footballers would not meet automatic non-EU visa criteria and therefore would be forced to leave. The loss of this currently unhindered access to European talent would leave British clubs with a considerable disadvantage. Baroness Brady highlighted that the EU’s Erasmus programme had contributed £1.5m to British grassroots football schemes over the last two years. She continued by urging support of the Britain Strong in Europe campaign stating that ‘sitting on the side-lines cannot be an option in this referendum’.

The Baroness’ comments have been followed by Barclays publishing a report warning of the Pandora’s Box effect of the referendum stating that the financial markets are underestimating the consequences.

Barclays’ report said that investors had failed to understand the breadth of the referendum, calling it one of the most significant global risks this year. Phillipe Gudin said that the referendum could lead to the disintegration of the European project, and criticised the idea that the referendum is considered a UK issue rather than a European one. The political and institutional reverberation of a ‘leave’ vote would be far greater than any economic fall-out.

The analysts have highlighted immigration as an important factor in the referendum debate; the emotionally-charged discussions are likely to impact the opinions of voters when deciding whether the UK should leave the EU. A recent survey showed that immigration concerns have surpassed fears over the economy, terrorism and unemployment.

It is possible that a Brexit would embolden other member states who are struggling to control immigration and create more turmoil across the continent. The UK could be the example for other nations who are looking to find a solution to the ‘thorniest and most emotionally charged trans-national issues’ that European voters have had to face. This Barclays’ analysis comes after the chief economist of Deutsche Bank said Brexit would be “devastating” for the continent and consign Europe to a “second rank” global power.