What do the new Brexit rules mean for Norwich City?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City's sporting model for the last three years has been predicated on recruiting from abroad and constructing a diverse first-team that consists of players from numerous countries.
Predominantly, the Canaries have utilised the German market under Daniel Farke but in the recent transfer window have shopped in Denmark, Luxembourg and Poland to bolster their first-team squad.
The Germanic core to the squad was pivotal to their promotion from the Championship two seasons ago and has underpinned everything the Canaries have sought to construct under sporting director Stuart Webber and Farke.
In order to get more bang for their buck, City have been forced to recruit largely from overseas. From January 1, however, the regulations around signings from the European Union will change.
Brexit has dominated public discourse since the referendum result was ratified in 2016. There has been much fall-out and it remains a deeply divisive issue that dominates news bulletins and public opinion even today.
Regardless of which camp you fall into surrounding the issue, from January 1, things are going to drastically change.
In terms of football, that means the rules around importing talent from abroad will change. It means that it won't be as straightforward for clubs, particularly in the EFL, to recruit outside of the domestic market.
- 1 MATCHDAY RECAP: Canaries beaten by Barnsley in FA Cup
- 2 Paddy's Pointers: Five observations from the Canaries' 1-0 FA Cup defeat against Barnsley
- 3 Farke's injury fears for Hugill after Barnsley FA Cup loss
- 4 Norwich City transfer rumours: Swindon hoping to sign Omotoye on loan
- 5 Paddy Davitt: Player ratings after Canaries' 1-0 Barnsley defeat
- 6 STARTING XIs: Hernandez starts as City make five changes for FA Cup tie
- 7 Energetic Barnsley dump disjointed Norwich side out of the FA Cup
- 8 Norwich City transfer rumours: Canaries interested in Luton midfielder
- 9 'Concentrate on the league klaxon' - City fans express disappointment at FA Cup exit
- 10 Young Canaries suffer last-gasp defeat in first game of 2021
The Canaries have been proactive in their response to this news. Webber has ensured they have scouted areas such as South America and even brought in Sebastian Soto despite concerns over his work permit.
Post-Brexit, those players will now fall into the same category as EU-based players, meaning it may become easier to grant work permits to players outside of the EU. That would open up several new markets to the Canaries - but some aspects will be less positive.
Following the confirmation of the post-Brexit rules on Tuesday evening, it was revealed that clubs in England will no longer be able to sign foreign youngsters under the age of 18. Rob Nizet, currently in the Canaries U23 squad, signed from Anderlecht in 2019. Under the new rules, similar deals won't be able to take place from the new year.
That means other countries, such as Germany and Spain, who are under EU regulations, would be able to gain an advantage by snapping up the best talent at a young age. City have enjoyed success recruiting young players from domestic markets, with Dan Adshead and Archie Mair arriving from Rochdale and Aberdeen respectively.
Within academies, category one youth set-ups can sign players from lower-ranking academies for a compensation figure. Ipswich Town have felt aggrieved at a number of their young stars, including Ben Knight, signing for a category one academy in Manchester City for a negotiated compensation figure under the Elite Player Performance Plan system.
Given their emphasis on youth recruitment and progressing players through their academy, this means City's recruitment will have to be targeted within the UK for players under the age of 18.
In terms of the senior picture, Premier League and EFL clubs will also be restricted to just three overseas signings under the age of 21 from January onwards, and only six foreign players per season.
A large number of the Canaries recruits in the last three seasons under their current sporting model have arrived from abroad, so what do the new rules mean for signing players over 21 from overseas?
The Premier League, EFL and the Football Association have agreed on a framework with the Home Office for EU players to move to English football on a points basis decided by a Governing Body Endorsement panel.
That points system will be based on international appearances (both at senior and youth level), the quality of the selling club and the ranking of their domestic league and club appearances based on league minutes and games in European competitions.
Players who accumulate the right amount of points will be granted a GBE automatically but those who fall short may be considered by an exceptions panel. So even if a player doesn't amass the necessary amount of points, clubs can still stake their claim to relevant authorities in hope of completing the transfer.
The Canaries wouldn't have been able to complete the signing of Teemu Pukki under the new regulations coming in from January.
Foreign players already working in the UK will be granted settled status, meaning they are able to continue playing in the country unaffected.
It remains to be seen how much of an impact these rules will have to the way the Canaries opt to recruit and do business. How stringent that points-based system is will be the decisive factor, if a player doesn't qualify via the points system and faces a robust exceptions panel, then shopping from abroad could become increasingly difficult.
That will mean UK-based players come at even more of a premium, so the emphasis placed on producing homegrown talent intensifies.
It will alter the way City do business, but the full extent of it won't be known until these rules come into full force next month.