Saturday 30 January 2016

Baroness Brady claims foreign players wouldn't play for English clubs if it wasn't for the EU banning mobile phone roaming charges

Baroness Karren Brady, one of Cameron's "man of the people" TV personality peers and a pro-EU Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE) campaigner, has made the bizarre claim that leaving the EU will damage football clubs.

Brady has claimed that footballers will be put off coming to the UK if they have to have a visa or if we didn't have cheap flights and phone calls to other EU countries. With average wages in the Championship at over £4k a week and an eye-watering £44k a week in the Premiership, cheap flights to Magaluf and mobile roaming charges aren't exactly going to be a deal clincher.

Brady is correct in saying that some clubs - those in the lower leagues primarily - would find it difficult to bring in players from abroad if they had to get visas but it's a non-argument. Most footballing nations are already on the visa exemption list and there are specific visa rules for footballers to ensure only top flight players come here which say that a player must have played for his country in at least 75% of its competitive A team matches of which he was available for selection, during the two years preceding the date of the application and that the player’s country must be at or above 70th place in the official FIFA world rankings when averaged over the two years preceding the date of the application.

It is pure fantasy to suggest that the UK would impose visa restrictions on EU countries when we leave the EU but playing their silly game, what would be the consequences of clubs having to apply for visas? Premiership and Championship clubs they are unlikely to experience any difficulties bringing over the players they want because they're top flight clubs taking top flight players from other top flight clubs. League 1 and League 2 clubs might find it difficult to bring so many foreign players in but that's a positive thing for domestic football. The lower leagues are where we should be incubating home-grown talent, training future premiership and international stars. League 1 and 2 clubs rarely, if ever, compete in international tournaments so there's no need to bring in footballers from around the world to bolster their squad. Anything that forces lower league clubs to invest in home-grown talent is a good thing.

Using football to try and make people scared of leaving the EU is a clever move by the mad cows at the BSE campaign but their dystopian vision of the future is so far fetched that nobody is going to take it seriously. We know that the EU has forced up prices of flights with its "green" taxes, we know that mobile phone companies have passed on the cost of abolishing roaming charges to consumers and we know that we're not going to impose visa restrictions on EU countries when we leave. Their outrageous claims on the number of jobs and amount of investment that would be lost when we leave the EU are based on the ridiculous scenario of the UK ceasing all trade with the EU and similarly their preposterous claims that it would damage football are based on the British government imposing visa restrictions on EU countries when we leave which simply isn't going to happen.

Baroness Brady should stick to her day job advising Lord Sugar which mentally unstable sociopathic Apprentice contestant is least likely to stab their future colleagues with a pair of scissors to get a promotion and leave the politics to sensible people.