Two Chairmen of football clubs from areas that voted heavily in favour of leaving the EU in 2016 are today calling for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal, due to the damage Brexit threatens to do to their clubs and domestic leagues.
Peter Coates, Chairman of Stoke City FC, and Mike Garlick, Chairman of Burnley FC, are both extremely concerned about how the Brexit-linked hit to the value of the pound and the Government’s pledge to end freedom of movement will make it more difficult to compete in future.
On 22nd June 2016, the day before the Brexit referendum, the pound was worth 1.30 against the euro. Today, the pound is worth approximately 1.12 against the euro.
The Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly pledged to end freedom of movement since the Brexit vote in 2016.
Burnley voted 66.6% to leave the EU in 2016, whilst Stoke-on-Trent voted 69.4% to leave.
Peter Coates, Chairman of Stoke City FC, said:
“I love football, and I love Stoke City. I want the best for our club and for the future of our national sport. It’s hard to see how a botched Brexit will help either, and the negative consequences are plain for all to see. The fall in the value of the pound that we’ve already seen, as well as the risk to our country’s economic prosperity, cannot be brushed under the carpet.
“Depending on the Brexit deal, the Premier League, one of our country’s success stories, could be damaged by freedom of movement restrictions. This could also affect the Championship.
The effect on economic prosperity is extremely worrying. All the serious and reputable research from national and international institutions is saying that Brexit will be bad for the economy. We already have evidence of this and it will only get worse. The majority of business thinks the same.
“The politicians are failing to sort out this mess, and they are not listening to the voices of employers and businesses up and down the country. If this goes badly, it will be places like Stoke that suffer the most. That’s why I’m supporting the calls for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal, because this is too big to ignore.”
Mike Garlick, Chairman of Burnley FC, said:
“The destructive Brexit path being pursued by the Government threatens to have a hugely damaging effect on football clubs across the country. It threatens to make the widening inequality gap in our top division even worse.
“The hit to the value of the pound against the euro, largely caused by Brexit uncertainty, is already making it harder for clubs to sign players. And ending freedom of movement will make it much more difficult for teams to attract the right talent, if the Government brings in more restrictive conditions for work visas for players from Europe.
“The Brexit that was promised in 2016 is clearly not the one that’s being delivered. That’s why I support a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal, and why I am urging others to join the campaign as well.”
Notes to editors
The currency calculations are taken from https://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/
An example of the Prime Minister, Theresa May, pledging to end freedom of movement can be read here.