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By Kevin O’Sullivan
I’ve been sitting here during the international break and wondering about something that’s been in every paper, on Sky News, and every radio talk show over the last two years – Brexit.
It’s talked about to within an inch of everyone’s last nerve at this stage but then something dawned on me. In the event of a no deal Brexit, players from the EU will be treated the same as players are currently from outside the EU.
The question is, how would that affect us?
The truth is, we don’t know but do you remember the name Allan Rodriguez De Souza? We signed him a few years ago and we’ve been moving him around the houses to get him a work permit to work in the UK.
He’s currently at Eintracht Frankfurt because he still doesn’t qualify under current UK rules. What could happen if current EU staff and players are treated in this way?
Our current coaching staff is made up of mainly German, Dutch and English people. The playing staff, as you all know, are from all over the continent as well as outside the EU and so are a sizeable portion of our youth players.
Imagine for a minute that the UK leave Europe without a deal and is given what known as third country status. People from outside the UK will have to apply for settled status to live and work in the country.
As far as I can find out, there is a criteria in place for non-EU players that are currently playing in the EU.
But I can’t find anything that would form a basis for clubs like Liverpool to plan for staff retention and future employment in this situation.
Now put yourself in FSG’s position. The UK’s future is uncertain. The currency is unstable and the government is also limping on day to day.
What’s this got to do with fans you might ask? Why should I care? I just want to watch Liverpool. Me too.
But will FSG continue in this climate to invest in our club? It’s possible but unlikely that they could cut and run. Unlikely I know, but not impossible because, like any multinational company, they depend on certainty.
Players, if they are talented enough to be wanted by Liverpool, will have other options. Qualifying for a UK work permit from outside the EU is already difficult but with the additional uncertainty, coming to the Premier League might not look as attractive as it once did. Attracting top talent could and would be more difficult.
Then I go back to our coaching staff. A work permit for Klopp wouldn’t be a problem. He’s well qualified, as we can all see.
But what about his assistants, doctors, nutritionist and all of the other staff? Klopp likes familiarity around him. If his team couldn’t get visas would he stay? Could we attract his replacement under these strict conditions?
At the moment I’ve got more questions than answers obviously because I’m just a fan with an opinion. What do I know?
I do know this much – Brexit will affect us all in ways we haven’t conceived of yet. Unforeseen consequence always happen.
It’s time for people to make themselves aware of the possibilities that things will change and no industry is immune.
I could be totally wrong and it’ll be alright on the night but I have a gut feeling that I’m right and the things we take for granted are changing.
If we don’t voice our concerns now it’ll be too late when the deed is done. Let’s see what happens but watch out for it.