07/09/2023 Sports Sports

A Team Game: The Collaborative Effort of Football’s Governing Bodies

In August, both the Home Secretary and Culture Secretary invited the Football Association (FA), Premier League (PL), and English Football League (EFL) to formalise an annual meeting, to be held prior to the summer transfer window, which would be utilised to agree immigration criteria for clubs under the International Sportsperson visa route. Here Myles Thomas and Joseph Hill discuss the update.

The International Sportsperson visa route requires international elite sportspersons, seeking to enter and work in the UK, to obtain a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE). The main goal of this newly established partnership is to facilitate the agreement between football authorities regarding immigration criteria within the GBE system. Additionally, it aims to advise the government on the most effective methods for clubs to recruit international players while ensuring ample opportunities for the development of local grassroots talent. This will, as put by Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, ‘help us ensure English football remains one of the go-to destinations for international talent while creating opportunities for home-grown players’. 

The FA, PL, and EFL have recently worked closely together to introduce new criteria that will allow clubs to secure GBEs for international players in the upcoming transfer window. This has been made possible through the implementation of the Elite Significant Contribution scheme, which we have previously discussed in detail in our previous article (check it out here). The proposals for more formalised collaboration, announced in August, will hopefully ensure that these cooperative and innovative developments continue.

To kick off this process, the government strongly advises the FA to initiate a consultation with the football community in order to gather their valuable insights. Make sure to stay tuned if you wish to express your opinion. Given we have just seen another record-breaking summer transfer window spend of £2.36bn by Premier League clubs, and that transfers in women’s football are only growing in stature, staying informed on these issues is of paramount importance.

As this crucial area of law continues to develop, please get in touch with our Employment and Immigration team if we can help with managing your sporting talent!