International Centre for
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Thu. 14 March 2019

Players’ origin in the English Premier League under the light of Brexit

The 43rd Monthly Report of the CIES Football Observatory analyses the evolution of the origin of players fielded over the past ten years in the English Premier League. It shows that the playing time of footballers having grown up in England has progressively fallen to reach a new negative record level over the current season: 35.2%. A similar trend was observed for goals scored: 30.7%.

On the contrary, the proportion of continental Europeans has steadily increased throughout the decade analysed. New records have been measured during the current season both at the level of the percentage of minutes (45.0%) and at the level of goals scored (43.3%). Since the 2017/18 season, continental European nationals are more numerous on Premier League pitches than UK players. 

Within the context of Brexit, a possible limit on the scope of international recruitment may oblige the majority of Premier League teams to modify their transfer strategies. However, the rise of a new generation of very promising Englishmen suggests that, on strictly sporting terms, such a change may not negatively affect the competitiveness of Premier League teams. It could even strengthen the English national team.