By 90Min
November 13, 2018

Premier League teams could be limited to just 12 foreign players in their 25-man squads as the FA attempts to thrash out a deal with clubs relating to how work permits are handled ahead of the impending clusterf**k that is 'Brexit'.

As things stand, individuals from the European Union/European Economic Area do not need to be granted work permits to play for British clubs. But that could all be set to change as the country nears an exit from the EU and the FA appears to be eyeing a compromise.

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A report from The Times explains that the proposed plan is to cut the maximum quota of foreign players in a Premier League club's first team squad from 17 to 12, but in return the FA will provide an endorsement for a work permit for every foreign player a club tries to sign.

Currently, the FA only needs to endorse work permit applications for players from outside the EU/EEA, from South America, Asia or Africa, for example. Those endorsements have usually been reserved for players deemed 'elite', but it appears as though the FA would endorse any foreign player a club wishes to sign as long as it falls in line with the quota limit.

The Times warns that failing to agree a deal with the clubs could potentially result in all EU players having to meet the same work permit criteria as non-EU players do now.

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If that were to be the case it would severely limit the ability of a club like Leicester to unearth an unknown gem like N'Golo Kante, a player whose minimal transfer fee and previously little known reputation would almost certainly not have qualified him as 'elite'.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham all currently have more than 12 foreign players and each club will likely have to change the way they recruit in a post-Brexit future.

It was announced in June that EU citizens already living in the UK, and any who continue to arrive until 2021, will have a right to permanent residency and can apply for 'settled status'.

Settled status will be granted to those who have lived in the UK for five years, while 'pre-settled status' will allow those who apply for it to stay in the UK for five years, enough time to subsequently gain eligibility for 'settled status'.

That only covers citizens of EU countries and not the whole EEA, with rights for citizens of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, as well as Switzerland, still being negotiated at the time of writing, the official government website explains.

The positive aspect of cuts to the number of foreign players in the Premier League would be a greater number of homegrown players. Clubs would be forced to put greater focus on developing domestic talent and that should serve to benefit the national team in the long run.

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