How will Brexit impact the Premier League?

Premier League Players

Continued uncertainty around Brexit is impacting everyone’s lives, impacting on businesses across the UK, including those of decision-makers in football.

Football is not immune from discussions about the UK withdrawing from the European Union, particularly with regards to the Premier League, which is one of the most popular, marketable and profitable leagues in European football.

Overseas players

England’s premier league teams include many overseas players, with scouts travelling worldwide to look for promising players. The English Football Association (FA) has used Brexit as an opportunity to announce a new policy proposal that the maximum number of foreign players in each team’s 25-player squad will fall from the current 17 down to 12.

The game’s governing body has stated that the new policy has been designed to increase the number of English players in the Premier League, because of concern about the reduced playing time for English players in the sport. Yet the policy could affect the ability of the national team to continue its success at international tournaments.

In 1992, foreign players made up 30 per cent of Premier League players, but England’s top tier has become increasingly international, and in 2019 that figure has more than doubled to 67 per cent. Under current rules, all players from EU nations are free to play for English clubs under the EU’s freedom of movement rules. Those rules will cease to apply once Britain leaves the bloc and the Brexit transition period has ended, with clubs having to secure visas for their new players.

It has not yet been clarified if teams will be forced to sell players who do not fit the new squad size rules. For younger overseas players, some will not be considered as foreigners if they have played and been trained at a British club for at least three seasons before reaching the age of 21. Currently, negotiations between the FA and the Premier League are continuing, since nearly all teams will be affected by the suggested rule changes and the Premier League are disputing claims from the FA that the standard of English football will be improved under the new policy.

How will Brexit affect UK Businesses?

UK-EU flags Bussiness numbers

After the Brexit vote, there was an immediate feeling of uncertainty as well as intense speculation about the consequences for UK business. This has continued due to there being no agreed terms on the UK deal to leave the EU as yet. Initially a political shock, the unexpected Brexit result confounded all forecasts, polls and expectations. More recently, businesses have become increasingly unsure if a deal will happen at all, much less what the terms of a potential deal might be. Predictions range from the devastation on the one hand to very little through to Brexit having a positive effect. There is also the question still floating about the possibility of a second referendum.

The unknowns

Three years after the referendum, there are still many unknowns about Brexit, which makes the impact difficult to quantify. This includes the terms of withdrawal by the UK from the EU and the future relationship the UK will have with the EU post-Brexit as well as what is expected in any transition period that may be agreed. Whether UK businesses believe that Brexit will make no difference to their business in the short term, experts have advised that all businesses must make plans to protect their business whatever the new relationship between the UK and EU ends up being. This is because Brexit will alter market access, the availability of migrant labour and product regulation.


Initially, many companies believed that as they did not export, that they would not be affected by Brexit. However, looking at company interdependence and examining possible threats to its supply chain and customers, businesses can plan ahead. Companies can be affected by their supply chain, even if only trading in the UK. They may currently have raw materials supplied from Spain or Italy, for example. When free trade between UK and EU ends on the transition to Brexit, the costs of supplies will rise. Similarly, the UK’s export business may be hit financially due to higher costs and tariffs, leading to UK businesses being less competitive in both EU and global markets.

How will Brexit affect the British Pound?

British pounds banknotes and coins

In the lead up to the Brexit referendum in June 2016, most in the financial industry felt that the UK would favour ongoing membership in the EU. In fact, the results showed that Scotland voted to remain by 62 per cent and Northern Ireland by 55.8 per cent. England was the deciding factor with 53.4 per cent wanting to leave, with a score of 52.5 per cent also voting to leave in Wales.

The result led to immediate political uncertainty, linked with economic volatility. The British pound fell more than 10 per cent in the hours after the vote was made final, with the pound struggling against the dollar and other currencies. Volatility has continued in the lead up to a withdrawal deal in the years since the referendum.

The effect of the fall in the value of the British pound has meant that holidays and imported goods have become more expensive, while UK exports have been cheaper. These positives are countered by negative consequences of higher costs for importers of raw materials and UK pensioners living overseas who have seen the value of their pensions fall.

Political uncertainty

The value of the British pound has been significantly affected by political uncertainty since the Brexit referendum. This has led to increased volatility in the market. In November 2016, a legal challenge halted the triggering of Article 50, which led to an instant gain in the pound against the US dollar, due to market optimism that the UK would stay in the EU. This ended in March 2017, when the UK parliament voted to pass Article 50, which lead the pound to fall against the US dollar because the UK’s economic future and particularly the Brexit transition process was unknown. By March 2017, when the European Council received the UK’s formal letter to invoke Article 50, the value of the pound had fallen by 17.5 per cent since the referendum.

As Brexit negotiations have continued, the British pound has rallied against the US dollar at every time that an element of political uncertainty has been removed. In October 2018, a cautious U.K./EU Brexit finance deal was put forward by UK Prime Minister Theresa May which was said to give London, already managing about 37 per cent of Europe’s financial assets (EUR6.82 trillion), basic access to EU financial markets. It also included details to prevent a hard border with Northern Ireland. This led to sterling rising against the US dollar and euro since the chances of a hard Brexit appeared reduced.

How will Brexit affect Travel?

UK passport with Brexit text

Summer seaside vacations, city-breaks and guided tours are just some of the options that millions of people within the UK have been considering for their holidays within the EU, as well as by EU citizens wanting to visit the UK. With the decision of the UK government to press ahead with the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, many are now considering how their holiday will be affected. Travel experts are hoping the two negotiating bodies will come to an eventual agreement with clear, reciprocal arrangements.

Value of the tourism sector

Planning travel into the UK or the EU as a foreigner once Brexit has been agreed is almost impossible since so much remains unclear. Whilst an individual’s holiday may appear insignificant in light of massive trade deals that must be negotiated as part of Brexit; tourism is big business valued at billions of dollars within the current 28 member states.

If the individual member states of the EU make agreements with the UK in relation to tourism, it is expected that these will be reciprocal, which means travellers may not see much change to the current state of affairs. If not, then ports, airports and all border entry points could experience significant delays due to increased demands placed on customs and immigration staff. The concern is that delays could be several hours or days at the English Channel as the UK meets the challenges of managing immigration and the importation of goods.

Check our article about how Brexit affect universities and students too.

Impact of ‘no-deal’ Brexit

After a no-deal Brexit, UK travellers be listed as "third country" citizens when passing through passport control in EU member states. It takes less than two minutes to border check each “third country” visitor, and this will be the major cause of delay if the UK and EU are unable to come to an agreement. passenger, this will add hours of delays at airports and Channel ports.

How will Brexit affect House Prices?

House plan and money illustration

The uncertainty about the timing of the UK’s departure from the European Union and the terms of the agreement when that happens is creating jitters in all sectors, including the property market. More recently, the resignation of UK Prime Minister Theresa May on 7 June and the subsequent leadership contest within the Conservative party has added to the uncertainty.

A no-deal Brexit

In September 2018, Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned that leaving the EU without a deal could see house prices plummet by a third. This calculation was based on a financial stability model, with some arguing that assumptions made about Brexit are implausible. In February 2019 Carney added that UK growth would be ‘guaranteed’ to fall in the event of a no-deal Brexit. In contrast, the financial crisis of 2008 led to the average UK property value dropping by 17 per cent.

House prices since the Brexit vote

After the Brexit referendum in June 2016, house prices did not move for a while until May 2017 when the average house price rose to a peak in August 2018 of about GBP232,000. From this point, prices have dropped each month, falling to GBP226,798 in March 2019, the most recent month available.

The house price slowdown may be due to a market correction, that some say is long overdue. More recently, Scotland has become the first UK nation to see an actual year-on-year decline whereas Wales and Northern Ireland have healthy house price growth of around four and five per cent respectively.

Transaction volumes since the referendum

When there is uncertainty in the housing market, the number of homes sold is usually low. In June 2016, it appears that the referendum did not impact on transaction figures. However, the figures were skewed due to the introduction of a three per cent stamp duty surcharge for those buying second homes, with thousands buying before the change was applied earlier in the year.

How will Brexit Affect Food Prices?

Foods payment list

Discussions about the effect of Brexit on food prices have been circulating for months, linked to the availability of some foods as well as security for growers. Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, currently running to be the leader of the Conservative Party and next Prime Minister, has said Britain would have “adequate food supplies” after Brexit. However, not everyone is convinced. Currently, the UK imports about 30 per cent of its food from the EU and another 10 per cent from the rest of the world. In the lead up to Brexit, questions have also been raised about how food will safely cross the borders.

Determining food prices

The price of food is determined by many things, not least the weather. However, in relation to Brexit, there are three political actions that may affect UK food prices. These are tariffs, the value of sterling and the transportation of food across borders


Leaving the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms in the event of a no-deal Brexit would leave British families to bear some of the cost of steep tariffs on everyday goods, while businesses absorb some to remain competitive. Tariffs are simply a tax paid by businesses on imported goods. Different tax rates apply to different products. The tariff for a particular product is the same for every country until there are trade agreements, which means new tariffs.

The average WTO tariffs translate into price rises for UK consumers by the following figures: dairy products to rise by about eight per cent; meat by just under six per cent; oils and fats by almost eight per cent and vegetables by four per cent. Other tariffs are much smaller, with tea, imported from outside the EU, taxed at 0.86 per cent.

Within the UK, claims keep resurfacing that the World Trade Organisation’s Article 24 could soften the economic blow of a “no deal” Brexit, but this has been thrown out by trade lawyers as a misrepresentation and as “nonsense”.

How will Brexit affect Universities and Students?

Brexit and university students

At the time of the referendum, Boris Johnson, then a pro-leave campaigner and MP and now front runner for UK Prime Minister after the resignation of Theresa May on 7 June 2019, wrote in the Daily Telegraph “I cannot stress too much that Britain is part of Europe, and always will be. There will still be intense and intensifying European cooperation and partnership in a huge number of fields: the arts, the sciences, the universities, and on improving the environment. EU citizens living in this country will have their rights fully protected, and the same goes for British citizens living in the EU.”

EU ‘home students’ in the UK

The EU’s Erasmus programme has allowed around 130,000 EU students to enrol in UK universities, and around 15,000 UK students to enrol in other EU nations as 'home students', charged the same fees as the country’s citizens, which in the UK is around GBP9,250 per year, instead of the international student rate which is between GBP10,000–35,000 per year for the same course. In July 2018, EU students applying to a British university for entry in the 2019-20 academic year were assured that eligibility for home fees, loans and grants will continue for the duration of their undergraduate and postgraduate course.

Although enrolment of EU citizens at undergraduate level in the UK grew by one per cent in the 2018-19 academic year, the numbers of those taught at postgraduate level fell by five per cent, a figure that is troubling since these students contribute directly to the UK’s research work. Uncertainty over Brexit and the UK’s future relationship with Europe is believed to be a significant factor in the decline, with university heads concerned that if the UK leave the EU without a deal, the uncertainty felt by prospective European students will see enrolment numbers fall further.

While home fee rates have been guaranteed for 2019-20, future plans remain unclear. UK Education Secretary Damian Hinds has stated that from 2021, the UK may start charging overseas EU students the same fees as other international students, which will also remove access to the UK student loans scheme.

A Second Referendum

Girl looking at airport board with UK and EU flags

On 23 June 2016, the UK electorate voted to leave the European Union. The reasons for leaving were numerous, including questionable immigration policies, concerns over Brussels micromanaging UK affairs, and doubts about whether remaining in the EU was in the best economic interests of the UK.

The frustration of UK citizens with the government’s inability to negotiate viable terms for leaving the European Union is clear, and many are calling for a second Brexit referendum to break the parliamentary deadlock.

The chances of a Second Referendum

The EU has repeatedly making clarified that the Brexit deal put forward by former Prime Minister Theresa May cannot be renegotiated. With the UK’s two main political parties – the Conservatives and the Labour Party – having poor polling figures, it is unlikely that either will call for a general election. This is why a second referendum, a so-called people's vote, could be the only solution there is to the Brexit crisis, according to the Liberal Democrats.

Yet, since 2016, MPs have repeatedly voted in support of the referendum result, in the name of implementing a decision taken by a majority of the electorate. In the general election of June 2017, Conservative and Labour parties both committed themselves in their manifestos to implementing the referendum result. To endorse a second referendum, past Brexit legislation would need to be repealed, going against the positions adopted by the Conservative and Labour parties in the 2017 general election.

Jeremy Corbyn, already warned that Labour Party supporters are deserting him over his failure to wholeheartedly back a second referendum, insists that now is not the time for Labour to back a second referendum, preferring to push instead for a general election.

MPs are calling for a second referendum now because it absolves them of all responsibility, placing it all back on the public. Yet a second referendum would be a blow to the heart of our parliamentary democracy. It would introduce an elitist principle that the legitimacy of a political decision rests upon a judgment about the knowledge that informed it. It could also give the same result three years ago.