PFA Chief vows to protect EU players after Brexit vote
LONDON (Reuters) - Premier League clubs will still be able to sign the best foreign players despite the result of the European Union referendum and the impending Brexit, Professional Footballers' Association chief Gordon Taylor said on Friday.
Britain's decision to leave the EU may have a lasting impact on the Premier League, with concerns that the free movement of players across the continent will be limited by tightening work permit regulations in the United Kingdom.
Taylor has moved to assuage fears that the recruitment of Premier League sides will be restricted in light of the referendum results, or that European players in England will be forced to leave.
"There is no reason why we still can't recruit the best quality foreign players if they want to come here," Taylor told Reuters.
"It doesn't mean any players have to go back," he added. "We will protect our members whether they are from Europe or the rest of the world."
432 players from EU countries were registered to play in the 20-team Premier League last season, according to Sky Sports.
"We are proud of our leagues which are the most cosmopolitan in the world," Taylor said. "We have provided more players to internationals to World Cups and the Euros than any other country.
"I think we have our members in all the remaining teams in France and we are proud of that but we have to bear in mind what has happened and how it will impact on the game."
103 players out of the 552 who have taken part in this summer's European Championships have come from the Premier League, according to BBC Sport), representing just under 20 per cent of all the players in action in France.
"Of course it's not happening overnight, we will look after all our EU members and it's going to be a system of devolvement," added Taylor.
"They are talking about two years, we have the work permit procedure in place which we agree with the Home Office, the governing body, the FA and the Football League."
(Reporting by Martyn Herman)