52% voted Brexit, and while some are weighing the economic and immigration consequences of this divorce, some of us are concerned about the soccer implications of it. Like, for example, after the monumental season that a British team in Leicester City FC had, seeing them qualify for the UEFA Champions League, has this decision to quit Europe affected their participation? Has this Brexit decision affected British participation in European football?
THE EU without Britain has been compared to the Euros without England and Wayne Rooney. But what would Brexit mean for UEFA?
The comparison between the historic EU referendum and the Euros came before British voters went to the poll yesterday and England footballers went to Euro 2016.
Bulgarian foreign minister Daniel Mitov made the observation about football during a discussion on Britain’s membership of the EU earlier this year.
He said: “A European Union without the UK would be like the UEFA European Championship without England’s national team and Wayne Rooney’s goals.”
Here is a look at what would happen to UEFA if Britain votes to leave the EU in the all-important referendum on June 23.
■ Could England still play in subsequent Euros?
Sports immigration lawyer Maria Patsalos, from law firm Mishcon de Reya, reassured to football fans by confirming that England could still play in European Championships.
Ms Patsalos told Express.co.uk: “Membership in the EU is not relevant to the UEFA position, as the members of UEFA are entirely separate.
“For example, neither Switzerland and Russia are in the EU, but are still eligible to play in European Championships such as the tournament in France this summer.”
■ Can Premier League clubs still play in UEFA leagues?
Ms Patsalos said the domestic clubs of non-EU members such as Switzerland and Russia are still eligible to play in the Champions League and Europa League.
She said: “Therefore, England and Premier League clubs would not be prohibited in any way in the event of a Brexit.”
The reassurance came after Liverpool played in the final of the Europa League and Manchester City reached the semi-finals of the Champions League this year.
■ What impact would Brexit have on UEFA?
Professor Raymond Boyle, from the University of Glasgow, described the Euros and the Champions League as two of the most high profile expressions of “shared European cultural identity”.
But he said: “Neither is dependent on membership of the EU. In short, being out of the EU would have little impact on elite football in the UK.”
Brexit campaigners have rubbished claims that leaving the EU would stop European talent from coming to play in the Premier League.
■ What is UEFA and why was it created?
UEFA, also known as the Union of European Football Associations, is the governing body for football in Europe.
Its headquarters are in Switzerland and its influence stretches from Iceland in the north-west to Kazakhstan – none of these three countries are in the EU.
The sporting authority represents 55 football associations and runs competitions such as the Champions League, the Euros, the Europa League and the Super Cup.
UEFA was founded in Basel, Switzerland, in 1954 to foster and develop the “unity and solidarity among the European football community”.
So, in short, Viva Naija‘s darling football club, will still dazzle UEFA with every eligibility possible? Oya dab!
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