Irish players could be formally barred by FIFA from moving to clubs in England before the age of 18 post-Brexit after reports emerged today that FIFA had agreed to exempt players from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not the Republic of Ireland, from moving to England before they turn 18.
nd clubs at League of Ireland and schoolboy level here have pressed the FAI for an urgent update on the status of players moving to the UK in the wake of a Brexit-related agreement earlier this week.
FIFA discussed the implications of Brexit on international player transfers at their Council meeting on Friday. World football’s governing body have yet to reveal the wording on decisions made on how players transfers could take place once the UK’s exit from the EU is complete, but a social media post from London law firm Mills & Reeve Sport said that FIFA had agreed that footballers from the four nations in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) would have freedom of movement, but that this did not apply to the Republic of Ireland.
“FIFA announce ‘Brexit exemption’ to allow the transfer of minors aged 16-18 between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but not between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Without this exemption, ‘international’ transfer of minors is prohibited,” a tweet from Mills & Reeve Sport said.
Clubs in Ireland, at schoolboy and League of Ireland level, have been seeking legal advice on the implications of new rules post-Brexit and whether players from Ireland could still move to the UK. It was assumed by clubs that the freedom of movement between Ireland and Britain, in place since the establishment of the state, would apply to footballers.
But if the Republic is not granted an exemption by FIFA, players from the Republic would be barred from joining English clubs until they were 18. Shamrock Rovers banked a reported fee of €500,000 from the sale of goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu to Manchester City when he was 16, while Bohemians manager Keith Long confirmed last month that a deal was in place to send their promising striker Evan Ferguson, who played for the first team at 14, to Premier League side Brighton next summer.