Brexit is to close off the well-trodden path of young Irish footballers to the UK.
FIFA has confirmed the implementation of a 'Brexit exemption' to its international transfer policy.
As of January 1, 2021 the United Kingdom will no longer be part of the European Union (EU). The world of football is not immune to the effects of Brexit.
The UK's status as a four-country state looked set to wreak havoc with transfer procedure.
If each territory (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) were viewed as individual non-EU entities, it would have barred players aged 16-18 from moving from one of those territories to another.
On Friday, the FIFA Council approved an amendment to the regulations to avoid situations in which minors would be unable to transfer within the same state.
📣⚽️Breaking news! @FIFAcom announce '#Brexit exemption' to allow the transfer of #minors aged 16-18 between @FA, @ScottishFA, @FAWales & @OfficialIrishFA (but notably not UK ↔️ @FAIreland). Without this exemption, 'international' transfer of minors is prohibited. Details👇 pic.twitter.com/6Ex30MsnEH
— Mills & Reeve Sport (@MRsportslaw) December 4, 2020
However, players from the Republic of Ireland under the age of 18 will no longer be allowed move to the UK.
According to FIFA data, 91 Irish nationals have moved to UK clubs over the course of the last seven transfer windows.
Such moves involving minors - in either direction - will no longer be permitted even though outside of football Irish nationals have the right to work in the UK.
Earlier this week, The 42 reported that some English clubs had been proceeding as normal as if the Brexit exemption would not impact on Republic of Ireland youths.
Acknowledging that the United Kingdom – one state with four separate FIFA member associations – will be leaving the European Union, the Council approved an amendment to the regulations to avoid situations in which minors would be unable to transfer within the same state.
This amendment will apply generally to all situations where there are more than one association in the territory of a country and it will allow the transfer of players aged between 16 and 18 between those associations.