With the new rules imposed by Brexit on transfers, French football, the leading supplier of players across the Channel, will see its main export market shrink and therefore potentially its revenues decline, in an economic context already complicated with the Covid , empty stadiums and the Mediapro fiasco.
The rules are changing. And the French clubs will have to get used to it. From January 1, French players, 32 of whom play in the Premier League according to the specialized site transfermarkt, will no longer be so numerous to be able to go into exile on English soil. England will no longer be able to recruit foreign minors, and French players will need a work permit which will be obtained via a points system which is still a little vague, of course, but the main lines of which have already been drawn.
“Basically this is not good news, but at the moment, there is not a lot of good news for French football,” we analyze in Premier League, the union of L1 clubs. The timing is indeed delicate: the ticket offices of clubs in France are empty, like its stadiums, and the broadcaster Mediapro, unable to pay the sum of 1.1 billion euros promised in TV rights, has just thrown in the towel . “It will inevitably impact the financial windfall generated between France and England, so it is in this context that it is not good news”, details the union.
“The problem is that it is still difficult to read”
Between 2010 and 2019, according to the Sport Business Observatory, the English spent 1.25 billion euros with French clubs. For now, it is still impossible to assess the negative impact for French clubs. “After Covid and Mediapro, it’s a bit like the third layer on the bread, it’s true,” summarizes Stéphane Canard, president of the union of sports agents (Snas). “It will change of course. Just for minors, transfers like Jérémie Aliadière (recruited by Arsenal at 16, editor’s note) or Paul Pogba (recruited by Manchester United at 17, editor’s note), it will no longer be possible, ”explains players’ agent Christophe Hutteau.
According to the agreement signed between the English Federation, the Premier League and the Championship (2nd English div.), Only players who have obtained a minimum of points will be able to be issued a work permit, the Governing Body Endorsment (GBE). Points gleaned according to the championship in which the player plays, his number of international selections, his number of matches played in the European Cup. For example, a player like N’Golo Kanté, who, in 2015, played in Caen, was not international and did not play in the European Cup, could not have signed for Leicester with these new rules. “The problem is that it is still difficult to read”, explains Romain Poirot, ex-recruiter at Manchester United. “But the English are very pragmatic and very strong for that, they will see after the transfer window this winter what will have to be adjusted, he explains, their goal is to establish the domination of the Premier League, the championship world major ”. Because what will not change is that French stars like Kylian Mbappé for example, will have no problem joining the Premier League.
“For me it is not the announced or feared cataclysm”
“For the + top players +, that won’t change anything. But even for a good L1 player, who will have played more than 80% of matches in a season, it should pass, ”says Christophe Hutteau. “Anyway, if the Premier League wants a player, it will have it”, he assures, “for me it is not the announced or feared cataclysm.” The English have even provided for a commission to arbitrate in disputed cases. On the other hand, for the players under the radars of the Premier League who tried the experience in Championship (2nd English div.), “There it will be clearly tense”, summarizes Christophe Hutteau. In 2019, eleven French people had been recruited by Championship clubs according to the transfermarkt site.
“It will force French football to imagine another model, and it may be an opportunity”
If this news on transfers will shake up French football, it should also lead to in-depth changes. “It will force French football to imagine another model, and it may be an opportunity. We will perhaps keep our young players a little longer, offer them longer contracts ”, nuance Premier League. The exile of certain young talents in England has not always been crowned with success, and certain intermediaries have sometimes taken advantage of the attractiveness of the English Eldorado to sign very early young talents who have never taken off. . “You have to be careful with hasty predictive analyzes. There will not necessarily be only negative effects of this Brexit ”, hopes Stéphane Canard.