Arsene Wenger believes that the terms of Brexit could have a lasting impact on the future of the Premier League.
It remains unclear what impact the narrow win for the Leave campaign in the Brexit referendum will have on the Premier League if the United Kingdom do indeed decide to leave the EU, but many are worried over the potential implications.
In one of the less brazen football-related Brexit headlines, Wenger believes the terms could “dictate the future” of the English game.
“It worries me, it shocks me too,” admitted Wenger. “Nobody knows how exactly this is going to translate into a practical plan. Nobody really knows where we are going. But the shock, is that we discover that in England there is a majority of people who want to leave the European Union. It is even more flagrant when you live in London, the excellent example of cosmopolitan life.”
“There are in fact two Englands – one that voted to remain and another that voted to leave. I spoke with a lot of financial analysts and not a single one of them knows exactly where we are headed. From a political perspective, England has lost its leader and at the moment she does not have another. This instability is worrying. Today, the English are in the dark on a political level. Europe could also falter.
“The players will see their wages come down a bit and the competition with Germany, of example, will be stronger. But that was one of the risks of the job and that worries me less. England still has a good amount of financial resources. There is a margin in terms of the money that will come in again this year.
“But, in my opinion, it is overwhelmingly in the long-term that there are questions to be answered. The way in which England will leave the European Union will dictate the future of the Premier League. If the league becomes less attractive, the broadcasters will offer less money for the rights, club revenues will decrease and the Premier League will suffer the consequences. There lies the problem.
“We thought that one day the best players from Real and Barça would say: ‘I also want to go to England because everyone is over there.’ All of that is now uncertain and Brexit is a spanner in the works. It will have consequences, not in the very short term, but in the long term, yes.”
The Frenchman added: “When England left the European Championships for five years (1985), she worked hard to come back to the level of the others. I think that England needs Europe, it is indispensable. And Europe needs England,” he said.
“Don’t forget that it is the English who created this situation. It is for that reason today that everyone is a bit groggy. I ask myself if the England players [who lost to Iceland] were themselves not left a little groggy by the whole thing.”