Select Committee on Education and Employment Minutes of Evidence

Annex C

Government announces New Work Permit Criteria for Football Players

  Margaret Hodge, Minister for Employment and Equal Opportunities and Tony Banks, Minister for Sport, today announced new work permit criteria for non-European Union football players, following discussion with the football governing bodies in England and Scotland.

  The Work Permit Criteria for the 1999-2000 football season are as follows:

    —  Players must have appeared in 75 per cent of their country's competitive interntional "A" team fixtures in the previous two years;

    —  Permits will be valid for the length of a player's contract with the club;

    —  The FIFA ranking of the player's national side aggregated over 2 years will be a criteria.

  The Government also announced its intention to establish an appeals panel which would include a representative from the football governing bodies and up to three independent individual experts. They will consider applications which do not meet all the criteria but for where evidence has been provided by the club to support their view that the individual concerned is of the highest calibre. The panel's recommendation will be forwarded to the Education and Employment Secretary for a final decision.

  Employment and Equal Opportunities Minister Margaret Hodge said:

    "The new criteria will help to ensure that only non-European international players of the highest calibre will be playing for British clubs. By adopting a straightforward, open, and transparent system we have removed the bureaucratic red tape to ensure a faster and fairer application process. The clear and consistent criteria will be welcomed by clubs, players and fans."

    "I am aware that we need to safeguard the opportunities for young English players and to this end we have invited the football governing bodies to consider grounds for a quota system for a maximum number of Non-European international players per club."

  Minister for Sport Tony Banks said:

    "The criteria strikes a sensible balance between allowing clubs to recruit the best available international talent and the need to provide opportunities for home grown young players.

2 July 1999

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