Former footballer Sol Campbell claims Brexit would help improve English football

Posted On: 
3rd April 2016

Former England footballer Sol Campbell has come out for Brexit, claiming that leaving the EU would help improve the national game. 

Former England footballer Sol Campbell is backing Brexit
Credit: 
John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The former Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur defender said freedom of movement rules were letting Premier League teams bring in "mediocre" foreign players at the expense of English talent.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Conservative supporter Mr Campbell said changing immigration rules would mean more opportunities for home-grown youngsters.

"The Premier League is in danger of becoming a free-for-all because, along with the star players, we are seeing teams load up with too many mediocre overseas footballers, especially from Europe, crowding out young English and British talent," Mr Campbell said. 

"Because of European rules on freedom of movement, it is virtually impossible for us to get a proper grip on the situation."

"If we had proper control of who can come in and out of Britain, we could attract the best of the best wherever they come from, while not letting in those who will be less of an asset.

"Rather than having to allow any European player to come here, we could use the same filtering system that already applies to non-EU footballers.

"We could then keep the Premier League well supplied with top international players, while growing the pool of home talent."

Earlier this week pro-EU campaign Britain Stronger in Europe was mocked over claims Brexit could stop foreign stars playing in the English Premier League.

They claimed if Britain left the EU, players from Europe would no longer be covered by freedom of movement rules, meaning they would need to apply for work visas before they could play in England.

But rival campaign Vote Leave insisted Brexit would be good for the English game because clubs would no longer have to "discriminate on the grounds of nationality against non-EU citizens as at present".​

The BSE intervention follows a warning from the campaign in January that two-thirds of European footballers playing in England “might be forced to leave” in the case of a Brexit.