Premier League Master Backs EU Remain Campaign

Richard Scudamore says it makes sense for the Premier League from a business perspective if the UK remains in the European Union.

Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore has given his backing to the Remain campaign, saying all 20 clubs in the top tier of English football support staying in the EU.

Mr Scudamore said the Premier League was all about “openness” and that it would be “incongruous” for him to back the UK leaving.

He argues that the UK’s continued membership of the EU makes sense from a business perspective and said last year that leaving would make it harder for the Premier League to protect its intellectual property rights.

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Speaking on Radio 5 live he said: “There is an openness about the Premier League which I think it would be completely incongruous if we were to take the opposite position.”

And added: “Nobody bears the scars more than me of having to go and negotiate in Brussels and try and organise things a little bit in our interests in terms of the European machine.

“Ultimately you can’t break away, you can’t just pull out, you have to get in and negotiate and try and organise and try and influence.”

However, the FA is concerned the number of foreign players in the game is crowding out young British talent.

In April, former England player and Brexit campaigner Sol Campbell argued in an article in the Mail On Sunday: “The Premier League is in danger of becoming a free-for-all because, along with the star players, we are seeing teams load up with too many mediocre overseas footballers, especially from Europe, crowding out young English and British talent.

“Because of European rules on freedom of movement, it is virtually impossible for us to get a proper grip on the situation.”

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It comes as billionaire businessman Sir Richard Branson, who lives in the British Virgin Isles and does not have the right to vote in the UK, reinforces his backing for Remain.

Sir Richard, whose businesses employ 50,000 people in the UK, said: “As an entrepreneur, I have been known for taking risks throughout my career but leaving the European Union is not one of the risks I would want the UK to take – not as an investor, not as a father and not as a grandfather.”

The Remain campaign has also been backed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which, in a statement, said that Brexit would put jobs at risk.

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Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “UK Automotive is globally competitive, securing record levels of investment, creating tens of thousands of jobs annually and exporting to over 100 countries.

“We want this success to continue rather than jeopardise it by increasing costs, making our trading relationships uncertain and creating new barriers to our single biggest and most important market, Europe.”

However, JCB chairman Lord Bamford is backing Brexit and earlier this month wrote to his 6,500 employees saying that he was “very confident that we can stand on our own two feet”.

The former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, John Longworth, told the Today programme a growing number of businesses were backing the Leave campaign.

He said: “The Single Market isn’t a nirvana, it’s a mirage. The Single Market is a protectionist area.

“We would be able to remove external barriers, reduce the cost of clothing and footwear, reduce the cost of food products we can’t produce in the UK, because at the moment the EU puts up tariffs for the rest of the world, which we have to pay for.”


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