Sunday 16 December 2018

FA's Brexit plans may have impact for Irish hopefuls

It would have negative implications for late-developing players who moved over later on – such as James McClean who was 22 when he left Derry City. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
It would have negative implications for late-developing players who moved over later on – such as James McClean who was 22 when he left Derry City. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Brexit could have implications for the prospects of young Irish footballers with aspirations of going to England after it emerged that the Football Association may reduce the number of foreign players under the age of 18 in academies.

Reports from across the water have suggested that the English FA is looking at a range of options related to the changing political climate and aligned with a desire to get more home-grown players involved at the highest level.

The FA is looking at restricting the number of non-home-grown players in each Premier League squad to 12.

Their definition of home-grown player is one that came through English academies or spent three seasons there before their 21st birthday. It would have negative implications for late-developing players who moved over later on - such as James McClean who was 22 when he left Derry City.

However, the most radical change would be if Brexit resulted in English academies not being able to recruit players from around Europe until they turned 18. The legalities of the situation need to be clarified, especially with regard to Ireland.

The Common Travel Area between the countries had led to the suggestion that any tweaks to regulations would have no impact on players who have grown up in the Republic but those details need to be thrashed out in the coming months.

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