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How Brexit has impacted the football transfer window

Tuesday 29 January 2019

THE FOOTBALL transfer window closes on Thursday in what has been a very quiet winter transfer period, with the big clubs seemingly reluctant to commit large funds. Sports Enterprise expert Professor Simon Chadwick, of the University of Salford Business School, says much of the caution is down to Brexit uncertainty.

Professor Chadwick said: “Uncertainty about the outcome of Brexit has moderated this month's domestic transfer window which, unlike in previous years, has largely been quiet. While transfer activity overseas has seemingly continued unabated, British clubs appear to have engaged either in short-term loan deals involving overseas players (for example, Gonzalo Higuain at Chelsea) or longer-term signings involving domestic players (such as Dominic Solanke's move from Liverpool to Bournemouth). 

“The recent publication of Deloitte's annual money league shows that English Premier League clubs remain cash rich, yet they still seem to be being somewhat cautious in their transfer market activities. It remains unclear what visa arrangements might be put in place in the event of Brexit, we still don't know whether there will be squad limits on overseas players, and the general economic outlook appears worrying should, for instance, a hard Brexit take place. 

“We perhaps saw evidence of what was to come last summer, when the British transfer market was noticeably less buoyant than it has been over the last decade. To exacerbate matters even further, one senses that the Premier League is sailing in troubled waters. The failure to find a replacement for outgoing CEO Richard Scudamore could be a warning sign that life is about to get tougher for its clubs. 

“One reason for this is that the broadcasting environment is increasingly uncertain and the structure of revenues derived from it is likely to change. Hence, unlike in the past when clubs would very often base current signings on future broadcasting revenue streams, currently it is unclear what will happen next. As a brand, the Premier League (and, indeed, English football in general) remains strong; however, the environment in which it operates is increasingly turbulent and uncertain. This current transfer window has reflected this.”

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Sam Wood

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