FA to close UK work permit loophole

19 Jan 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The loophole in the UK work permit system that can see permits for football players approved after appeal is set to be closed by the Football Association (FA), who are keen to avoid overseas players from – as they see it – blocking the progress of young English footballers.

Greg Dyke's FA Commission report made the proposal last year but the FA chairman is said to be pushing the campaign through now with the aim of making this month the last transfer window through which clubs will be able to use the 'discredited' appeals process to sign non-European Union players.

If successful, the clubs would not be able to use the process in the summer transfer window.

The perceived problem with the system is that currently clubs can make an appeal to the Home Office in order to receive a UK work permit for a player even if they do not meet the standard criteria. The crux of the criteria is that a player must be from an international team ranked within Fifa's top 70 and they must have played in 75 per cent of their country's international matches during the last two years.

At the moment, an appeals process is being used to allow people through who do not meet these minimum requirements. Coaches cite reasons such as future development and satisfaction that the player will make a worthy contribution as reasons to appeal.

Mr Dyke said that the system is “a bit of a farce” as it stands, adding that his proposals would introduce tougher new rules, such as a requirement for the player to be from the top 50 ranked nations.

However, he would also change the system so that the threshold for appearances would be lowered to 30 per cent, therefore allowing for players from countries like Brazil where there is much greater competition for match places more of a chance.