Players should be exempt from post-Brexit immigration laws, say Premier League club owners

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After the United Kingdom triggered Article 50 to commence its exit from the European Union, the league owners are concerned about signing players

Premier League club owners have called for the UK government to make exemptions for football players when it comes to dealing with immigration after leaving the European Union.

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Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 on Wednesday to kick start the process, enhancing concerns over free movement after negotiations end.

As the world's biggest spending league, clubs in England are hoping the government will introduce measures to ensure they are not hindered in signing players from abroad.

"We'd expect them to be included [in exemptions], but we have to wait and see," Stoke owner Peter Coates said after a meeting between the 20 Premier League clubs. "In Europe, we can get free movement and that will change, or may change, I don't know. We don't know.

"I'm pessimistic about leaving. Nothing's changed my mind. Hopefully, football will find a way of looking after itself."

West Ham co-chairman David Gold, meanwhile, believes it would be an economic mistake for the government to make it difficult for well-paid athletes to enter the country.

"The Premier League is the greatest league the world has ever known," he said. "It's a fantastic advert for Britain, for England. I know people talk about the wealth that's there, but these players are on huge salaries and all the tax is going into the exchequer. Why would you stifle that? Why would you want that to change?

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"It's a great advert. The Premier League goes around the world and it's ever expanding. I don't see a government doing something potty to disturb that. I don't know about free movement but the structure would be that the best players would receive work permits.

"It's already affecting us because players are more expensive to buy because of the [drop in value of the] pound."