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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Dean Rudge

Manchester United and Man City to vote on new transfer window deadline after Brexit

The Premier League's chief executive Richard Masters says clubs will come to a decision this week on the possibility of reinstating the summer transfer window to its former deadline at the end of August, in the wake of Brexit.

In an interview, Masters cited potential changes to the immigration system following the UK’s exit from the European Union, commenting, “It may be that it's the last window where freedom of movement is possible.”

In 2018, Premier League clubs voted to bring forward the summer transfer window deadline to the day before the Premier League season begins, shaving off around three weeks to get deals done.

But with Britain’s official exit from the EU on 31 January, the landscape could change.

A transition period is in effect until 31 December 2020, giving time for the UK and EU to negotiate their future relationship; but during this time the UK will remain a part of the EU single market.

This system provides for freedom of movement for workers, allowing nationals of any EU member state to take up employment in another member state on the same conditions previously enjoyed.

Freedom of movement formally ended when the UK leaves the EU – though the accompanying rights are retained during the transition period.

Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey has opined in recent days that the EU is “unlikely to agree to freedom of movement unless we agree to the other freedoms, which would involve either being a member of the European Economic Area or a member of the EU.

“And our government doesn’t want to accept those,” she pointed out.

This has obvious repercussions for the Premier League should freedom of movement end completely after 1 January 2021.

Concerns have been raised over EU footballers satisfying certain criteria or receiving an exemption in order obtain a work permit, in the same way non-EU footballers have.

However, there has been talk that the Premier League and professional football at large is a ‘special case’ that won’t fall victim to a planned a points-based migration regime that would replace freedom of movement.

Last year, Masters said he was “sure we will sort it [the issue] out,” adding, “We have to come to an arrangement with the Home Office at some point.”

Masters also commented at the time, “I don't think there is a scenario where the Premier League will be badly affected by Brexit. I think we will find appropriate accommodation and our clubs will be able to recruit the players they want from abroad.”

Now Masters has confirmed that a longer summer transfer window is up for discussion, which could aid recruitment should any complications arise.

“Clubs may want to take advantage of the longer window to make sure that they've taken full advantage.

“There are two options,” he noted. “Either no change or moving it back to the end of the month.

“And there's a possible alternative model which is a hybrid model where you move it back, but Premier League clubs don't trade between themselves.

"So clubs will take a view and decide for themselves what they want to do later this week."

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