Club chairs warn Brexit could be 'hugely damaging' to football in England

Posted On: 
16th August 2018

Top football club chairmen have warned that Brexit could be “hugely damaging” to the beautiful game in England.

Stoke chair Peter Coates teamed up with Burnley boss Mike Garlick
PA Images

Burnley boss Mike Garlick said the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote was "making it harder for clubs to sign players".

And Stoke chair Peter Coates raised concerns that freedom of movement restrictions once the UK quits the bloc could hit the Championship.

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But Sports Minister Tracey Crouch insisted the Government was "determined to ensure that our sport sector continues to flourish".

Voters in Burnley and Stoke voted for Brexit by huge margins - 67% and 69% respectively.

However, Mr Garlick said: "The destructive Brexit path being pursued by the Government threatens to have a hugely damaging effect on clubs across the country.

"It threatens to make the widening inequality gap in our top division even worse.

"The hit to the value of the pound against the euro, largely caused by Brexit uncertainty, is already making it harder for clubs to sign players.”

And Mr Coates said: "The negative consequences are plain for all to see.”

He argued: "Depending on the Brexit deal, the Premier League, one of our country's success stories, could be damaged by freedom-of-movement restrictions.

“This could also affect the Championship.”

Lib Dem Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said: "The Premier League, and sport across the UK, has flourished in recent years. However, all that could come to an end with the economic calamity that is Brexit.

"I am glad that leaders from high profile clubs have spoken out against a policy that could badly damage the beautiful game."

He added: "Brexit will relegate football across the UK. I hope fans will join the Liberal Democrats in backing a final say on the deal, which will deliver an opportunity to Exit from Brexit."

But in a letter released this week, Ms Crouch insisted the Government "absolutely recognises the value of sport to the UK" and was "determined to ensure that our sport sector continues to flourish".