Business Directory

Browse the Directory

Sign Up to the Directory

FC Business Twitter
FC business Linked in
FC Business facebook
FC Business Youtube

Non-EU Player Numbers To Be Restricted By FA

Wed 17th Sep 2014 | Football Governance

Non-EU player numbers will be restricted under proposed changes to the current system the Football Association (THE FA) has announced.

The proposals are in a bid to reduce the numbers coming to England from next season by up to 50 per cent and were first proposed by FA Chairman Greg Dyke’s England Commission in May.

Over the summer discussions have taken place with the Home Office regarding the process for change. 

The system, called the Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) process, was introduced by the Home Office in 2008 to allow the governing body of each sport to manage a systematic objective approach for endorsing visa applications of elite players from non–EU countries.

The defined criteria are designed to result in visas only for those elite sportspeople ‘who are internationally established at the highest level whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level in the UK’.

The FA has issued a consultative paper – which it is required to do under Home Office rules – suggesting detailed changes.

These include:

  • Restricting GBE visa applications to Premier League clubs only. Currently Football League clubs can also apply and in the past four years 23 applications from Football League clubs have been successful.
  • Preventing players brought to Britain through the GBE visa system from being loaned out to other club.
  • Reducing the list of countries from which players can apply for GBE visas based on international playing record, from the current 70 top FIFA ranked countries to the top 50.
  • Easing – from 75% to 30% – the percentage of competitive international matches that players from countries with FIFA ranking in the top 30 must have played in the past two years.
  • Introducing a transfer fee exemption to deliver GBE for elite players from any country, irrespective of FIFA ranking, if the transfer fee exceeds a minimum indexed figure, initially proposed to be £10m or £15m.


  • Scaling back the appeals system so that clubs may only appeal on the basis of incorrect process.  In the past appeal tribunals have been required to make subjective judgments on playing ability, which has resulted in nearly 80% of all appeals being successful after failing to meet the initial criteria.


There will now be consultations with the Premier League, The Football League. the PFA, the LMA and the national FA’s of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as required by the Home Office. 

Following the consultations, The FA is planning to take a paper back to the Home Office later this year so that the new system could apply from the beginning of the 2015/16 system.

Images: Action Images/John Rushworth

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

Icondia (Icondia-C-468x60.gif)
If you have any football business related news stories you’d like to share then please contact us –

To subscribe to our range of football newsletters including news, products and jobs CLICK HERE.

Add to: Google Google | Yahoo Yahoo | Live Live | del.icio.us del.icio | Digg Digg |

Related Articles

The introduction of sin-bins among the topics to be discussed at IFAB's 131st AGM

Thu 2nd Mar 2017 | Football Governance

Greg Clarke will chair the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) at Wembley Stadium on Friday. England hosts the 131st meeting of the game’s...

FIFPro warning on two Malta clubs

Wed 1st Mar 2017 | Football Governance

FIFPro is advising players against joining two of the 12 clubs in Malta’s Premier League after evidence emerged of poor treatment of foreign footballers, including youngsters from Nigeria and...

Major Funding Boost For Grassroots Football

Wed 1st Feb 2017 | Football Governance

Underrepresented groups in grassroots football will soon have more teams to play in. The FA are investing £1.5m into the Grow the Game scheme – a programme that increases participation at...

Leeds United Owner Sanctioned By The FA

Thu 8th Dec 2016 | Football Governance

Leeds United and the club’s owner Massimo Cellino have each been fined £250,000 for breaching The FA’s Football Agent Regulations. The charges relate to the transaction involving the...