FA propose visa overhaul

The Football Association (FA) has revealed proposals which could see the number of non-EU foreigners in English football halved.

Following initial proposals by FA chairman Greg Dyke and the England Commission, the organisation is eager to overhaul the Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) section of the visa process.

If passed, these changes could drastically reduce the amount of players from outside Europe who ply their trade in England. 

Under the plans, GBE applications would be limited to Premier League clubs only and players would not be allowed to join via the process and then be loaned out to other clubs.

Only players from the top 50 countries in the world would be eligible for a GBE application, rather than the top 70, while the number of competitive international matches players from the world's top 30 must have played in the last two years would be eased from 75 per cent to 30 per cent. 

A minimum transfer fee would serve as an exemption, with the FA proposing £10million or £15m, while changes to the appeal process would mean clubs could only appeal on the grounds of incorrect process rather than judgements on ability.

The changes could be brought into play by the 2015-16 season with the FA planning to consult with the Premier League, the Football League, the Professional Footballers' Association, the League Managers Association and the national FA's of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

After those discussions, the FA then plans to return to the Home Office with a new paper.

The GBE process was initially introduced in 2008, with the intention of allowing visas for athletes "who are internationally established at the highest level [and] whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level in the UK".