Premier League clubs fear impact as Brexit begins

Chelsea could be the worst Premier League club affected as a result of Brexit Source: Getty Images

Premier League clubs owners have urged Britain's government to explore measures to protect the competition from being damaged by Britain's impending departure from the European Union, with Chelsea set to be the side most affected.

The Sun is reporting that the Blues will suffer the most as a result of a 'hard Brexit', with 76 per cent of their goals this campaign scored by EU nationals.

Percentage of goals scored by EU nationals in the Premier League
Percentage of goals scored by EU nationals in the Premier League
The Sun

Additionally, 74 per cent of Chelsea players are either an EU national or hold a second EU nationality, a whopping 15 per cent more than the second-placed Manchester City.

An example of a player who holds a second EU nationality is star Blues defender David Luiz, who is a Brazil international while also being a Portuguese citizen.

Percentage of EU nationals fielded by Premier League clubs
Percentage of EU nationals fielded by Premier League clubs
The Sun

The United Kingdom formally left the EU on Wednesday (AEDT), 44 years after joining, with Prime Minister Theresa May triggering Article 50 to signal their departure.

And with the British government insisting they must regain the right to control immigration and end free movement from the EU bloc, the ability of England's top clubs to sign players from Europe could now be impeded.

Meanwhile, after a meeting of executives from the Premier League's 20 clubs, the owners of Stoke City and West Ham United called for immigration exemptions to preserve the flow of top footballers from the continent.

"We'd expect them to be included (in exemptions), but we have to wait and see," Stoke owner Peter Coates said.

"In Europe, we can get free movement and that will change, or may change, I don't know. We don't know."

The Football Association two years ago persuaded the government to adopt tougher visa requirements for players trying to sign from outside Europe.

But Premier League clubs now feel they could be put at a competitive disadvantage in Europe, where they can qualify for UEFA competitions, if they cannot easily trade in talent from the continent.

The uncertainty could exist as the terms for the dissolution of Britain's long relationship with the EU are formalised before the exit deadline on March 29, 2019.

"The Premier League is the greatest league the world has ever known," West Ham co-chairman David Gold said.

"It's a fantastic advert for Britain, for England. I know people talk about the wealth that's there, but these guys are on huge salaries and all the tax is going into the exchequer. Why would you stifle that? Why would you want that to change?

Source AAP