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New entry requirements now in force for overseas players in England

5 January 2021

New entry requirements now in force for overseas players in England

Chelsea's Maren Mjelde, captain Magdalena Eriksson and Fran Kirby © The FA

Overseas players will now have to meet a new set of criteria if they are to sign for a club following the UK's departure from the European Union (EU) on 31 December.

As of 1 January 2021 clubs can't sign players freely from the EU. Players from EU countries who want to play in the Barclays WSL, Premier League or EFL will be required to gain a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE), like all other overseas players without the right to work in the UK.

Under FIFA’s rules, the UK’s exit from the EU also means that clubs will not be able to sign players from overseas until they are 18.

The Women’s game will operate a points-based system, where points are scored for senior and talented young players based on:

• Senior international appearances
• Quality of the selling club, based on the league they are in and former league position
• Club appearances, based on domestic league and continental competition minutes

Players from EU countries who want to play in the Premier League or EFL will be required to gain a GBE based on:

• Senior and youth international appearances
• Quality of the selling club, based on the league they are in, league position and progression in continental competition
• Club appearances, based on domestic league and continental competition minutes

Players accumulating the requisite amount of points will earn a GBE automatically, while players just below the threshold may be considered for a GBE by an Exceptions Panel.

In the Premier League, the number of overseas U21 players a club can sign will be limited to three in the January transfer window and six per season moving forwards. This enables the recruitment of the best players from around the world to train and play together with homegrown talent.

The new criteria is being implemented during the January 2021 transfer window and will be reviewed in full ahead of the summer 2021 transfer window.

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