Brexit providing huge challenges for European rugby

Guinness Pro14

With Brexit due on January 31 for the UK there are far more permutations than just domestic ones. Rugby will suffer as a consequence if a no deal is passed through and faces challenges in the months following the result, whenever MP’s decide for that to take place!

No deal Brexit changes everything

Currently, citizens of European countries are allowed to work in any other EU country.

What else?

There is the KOLPAK law that means countries that are part of the EU association agreements, which are free trade treaties between the EU and other nations, have the same rights.

South Africa are part of the Cotonou agreement, and some Pacific Islands (Tonga, Fiji, Samoa etc.) have EU treaties. This is important due to the large amounts of players from these nations that currently play professionally in Europe’s top leagues.

These rulings would be directly affected by the UK leaving the EU with ‘No Deal’.

Guinness Pro14 plans in case of a ‘No Deal’

Current Pro14 guidelines state on non-European players that “a maximum of two are permitted in a team’s match squad.”

EPCR, the governing body for the Champions and Challenge Cup also state the maximum is two. Speaking at the Pro14 final ticket launch, CEO Martin Anayi said, “we’ve done a lot of work with EPCR, understanding the ramifications of it [No Deal] does happen.

“We understand that from a legal point of view, Visas and changing our rules. We’ll have to alter our tournament rules, but we await the outcome.

Pictured at today’s ticket announcement is Guinness PRO14 CEO Martin Anayi
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

“There has to be some sort of a permit system in place and the admin burden would go up. Clubs would apply to the Home Office and we’d support them.”

Clubs have many overseas players that would be at the brunt of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit vote and hundreds of players are at risk of employment alterations in the next 12 months. Players such as Brandon Nansen, Sam Lousi and Leona Nakarawa, could all become affected.

Premiership Rugby and Brexit

Well, what about the Gallagher Premiership? What do they have to say about this?

They haven’t released an official statement yet, but when asked by Last Word on Rugby they were still waiting on “government guidance.”

It’s likely they’ll go through similar, if not the same protocols of the Pro14, but it’ll pose a minefield of paperwork and headaches for those in the admin departments.


The Tory Government mandate of a January 31 ‘Brexit deal’ will be followed closely by Last Word on Rugby, and our British-based senior editor, Robert Rees.


“Main photo credit”

Pictured at today’s ticket announcement is Guinness PRO14 CEO Martin Anayi
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne