Brexit leads to nervousness in the Premier League

The Premier League will do everything to prevent a hard brexit. This month the lobby machine runs at full speed. In the Belgian daily newspaper Het Belang van Limburg (2 March 2019) sports economist Dr Thomas Peeters of Erasmus School of Economics is one of the interviewees who answers questions about the consequences of a Brexit for the Premier League.

The Premier League is, together with La Liga, the strongest football league in the world, but after the brexit it will be harder for the British clubs to attract foreign talent. The Premier League may well fall off its pedestal. ‘The Premier League is one of the big destination countries and therefore an important customer for many smaller countries such as Belgium to buy players,’ says Thomas Peeters. ‘After the brexit, English clubs might be less willing to buy players from the Belgian league. In the short term, that may mean loss of income.’ Thomas Peeters also predicts that the lobby machine will run at full speed. ‘After the Brexit and the transition period, clubs do not have to worry about European regulations anymore. That will be the signal to lobby for more favorable rules. It is easier to influence British politicians than to lobby in Brussels. If the UK is no longer in the EU, they can also benefit from it.’

A first tangible consequence of the uncertainty about the brexit is the fall in the value of the British pound. ‘As a result, the clubs are already a lot less effective’, Thomas Peeters knows. ‘In the Football Money League, the list of the clubs with the highest revenue, Manchester United had to compete against Real Madrid and Barcelona. If the pound had not dropped in value, that ranking would look very different.’

Assistant professor