The United Kingdom will formally end its transition period at 11 PM GMT on New Year’s Eve, meaning that the country will be officially separated from the European Union. While the EU and UK have signed a trade deal, the ramifications for football will be felt immediately. In consultation with the FA, the Home Office and the Government, the Premier League will now be operating with a new work permit system. Because of the departure from the European Union, players with EU passports no longer have right to reside in the United Kingdom without securing a visa—and as a result, there is a whole new system, the Governing Body Endorsement.
There will now be a point system. To get a work permit, a player must reach 15 points, which can be accumulated in the following way:
• Senior and youth international appearances
• Quality of the selling club, based on the league they are in, league position and progression in continental competition
• Club appearances, based on domestic league and continental competition minutes
The requirement of international appearances has been simplified: essentially, if a player plays 70% of available minutes for any association ranked between 1 and 50, they will automatically receive a work permit—and this is extended based on quality of association.
Leagues have been divided into 6 bands, but the upshot is that if Arsenal do their shopping for players in Europe, they should have no problem getting the required points. After January, if a player is close to 15 points, there will be an exceptions panel.
The big change for Arsenal will be in signing youth players. No longer will the Premier League be able to sign European players at the age of 16—the FIFA rule that allowed for minors to sign for clubs in different countries applied only in the European Economic Area. So, for example, 2021’s Héctor Bellerín and Cesc Fabregas would be unable to sign for Arsenal. So too would 2021 Gabriel Martinelli. Martinelli received a work permit because he has an Italian passport. But Martinelli would’ve accrued at most 2 points based on his appearances for Ituano, in Brazil’s 4th division.
Arsenal can still secure young players, but they have to have played in International youth tournaments, and even in first division football. In that sense, the recent drive from the club to prioritize young English signings for the academy makes sense—especially considering Arsenal’s current home grown snafu.
The women’s game has had a similar system put in place. The major difference is that youth tournaments do not count in securing points for the GBE. For Arsenal, it means that the recent signing of Malin Gut could’ve been tricky, but other additions would’ve otherwise gone through.
In any event, this is a new prism with which to view Arsenal transfer rumours through—especially those who are not established first team, senior internationals.