English FA to cut foreign players in Premier League - report

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FA Cup Final - Chelsea vs Manchester United - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - May 19, 2018 Chelsea players and staff celebrate winning the FA Cup with the trophy on the pitch at the end of the match Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

LONDON (Reuters) - In a bid to deal with Brexit and boost the number of homegrown players, the English Football Association (FA) is planning to reduce the number of overseas players in Premier League squads to 12 from 17, the Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The proposal, to be put to the clubs this week, would mean significant changes to a number of sides. Thirteen clubs have more than 12 overseas players in their first team squads this season.

The FA would in return agree to give a governing body endorsement, usually issued for a non-EU/European Economic Area elite player to help the development of football in England, for a work permit for every foreign player who gets a contract with a Premier League club, the report said.

If the clubs fail to reach agreement with the FA on Brexit, they could face a “no-deal” scenario where all EU players would have to fulfil the same criteria that non-EU players do now to get a work permit, the report added.

“We are continuing to work with the Premier League, EFL (English Football League) and a range of government departments, including: DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport); Home Office; Treasury during this consultation period,” an FA spokesperson told Reuters.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday that there were still considerable unresolved issues with the European Union over Brexit as the two sides approached the “endgame” in negotiations for departure from the bloc.

Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Ian Ransom and Christian Radnedge