Before I begin this piece I will issue an apology to the experienced economists among our readership and ascertain I am no fiscally-inclined financier. Far from it, but like many Rangers fans I learned far more about stocks, shares, corporate management and suchlike ‘thanks’ to Rangers’ admin period and the time thereafter.
As such the upcoming piece is heavily based in conjecture, which in itself is ironic given the basis for Brexit was indeed mostly conjecture and theory-based too.
This is not me making any sort of political point, I am not taking sides in this debate, but it is prudent for Rangers (and any British football club) to examine the ramifications for what an exit from the European Union means in real-time for our club.
The three main aspects that will significantly change, although the full extent is obviously unknown, are as follows:
Transfer fees. With the £ currently experiencing its most volatile period pretty much since its inception, and definitely in the past number of decades, the uncertainty is driving transfer fees through the roof. One Premier League chairman of England has revealed a deal which was set at a particular fee 24 hours ago has hiked by £3M such is the current fall in Sterling’s value. Admittedly Rangers have been remarkable in the window thus far, with barely a million outlaid on over half a dozen players, but the future impact on transfer fees when Warburton starts to need to shell out bigger money could be telling.
Work permits. This is a potentially big problem down the line; currently all EU member-state players who come to Britain are exempt from requiring any kind of ‘entry requirements’. Naturally immigration is declared through legal channels and that is really about it as far as major obstacles go. With EU membership to end, though, these players will now require a work permit (like players from the Americas and Africa), and must be full internationals too. In other words, Niko Kranjcar would require a work permit, but he does fulfil ‘full international’. But down the line, it gets more complicated. Imagine the players Rangers could well be denied in years to come as a result of this. Again, not taking sides, just pointing out some potential effects on our football club.
Under 18s. Rangers will no longer be able to sign anyone under 18. Simple as that. Currently there is an agreement in place with FIFA that full contracts can be given to U18s for all EU members. That will be revoked, and the likes of Jack Adamson (16) who was recently head hunted to join Rangers’ Academy would now be presumably limited to part time youth schemes rather than being given a professional contract.
There will be many errors here, I am sure, and I am certain the comments section will tell me off for it (despite my disclaimer that I am no expert), and I understand a great number of Rangers fans, at least the ones I have spoken to, voted to leave the EU. But the ramifications for the club are truly up in the air like they are for all other British clubs and change is certainly afoot.
Whether these changes can be adapted to for the benefit of the club remains to be seen.