As with so much of the debate surrounding a British split from Europe, much of what is outlined below is conjecture. While many who support Britain leaving the European Union would discount an argument based around unknowns as brazen fear-mongering that fails to provide a solid foundation on which to build an argument to remain within the European Union, it should not be dismissed. Indeed, it makes a crucially important point about how wide reaching the ramifications of a ‘Brexit’ have the potential to be and how little the Leave camp know about the short, medium and long term impacts the United Kingdom’s break with the European Union could have.
Even if Britain chooses to remain part of the European Union but seeks to renegotiate Britain’s terms of engagement, say to replicate the Swiss model, the several months of political machinations that will undoubtedly follow such a decision risk introducing uncertainty into the summer transfer market. It is not certain that the terms of European work visas will remain the same, potentially resulting in enormous upheaval to many of the British leagues.
Current estimations by ‘Britain Stronger In Europe’ suggest that close to 200 players in the Premier League alone stand to no longer qualify automatically for work visas because Britain would no longer benefit from European labour laws that prevent discrimination based on nationality. Notable voices including Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and West Ham chief executive Karen Brady have warned about the dangers of Britain leaving the European Union.
Given the 2014/15 season review suggested that the Premier League clubs provides £2.4billion in tax revenue to the treasury and a £3.4 billion contribution in total to GDP a Brexit would not only be costly to the British economy but throw British football into total disarray. While football agent Rachel Anderson told The Mirror that a Brexit would allow for further development of British players in the long term due to a minimised pool of oversees talent available to play in the UK, home grown talent could still find themselves in a difficult position when attempting to play abroad as it is even less clear how other countries will treat talent from the UK attempting to work in Europe.
Ultimately, if the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union in June, British football could be hampered by destabilising uncertainty in the short term and a potentially enormous exodus in European talent and potentially constricted opportunities available to British players in the long term.