If the England Football Association has its way, obtaining a United Kingdom work permit through appeal will soon be much more difficult. The proposed changes are designed to limit the number of non-European Union players by up to 50 percent and to make more roster spots available to English players. Interestingly enough, the changes could also help pave the way for DeAndre Yedlin's transfer to Tottenham Hotspur.
The crux of the proposal appears to be aimed at foreign players who the FA feel as though don't really belong in the Premier League, or anywhere else in the English football structure, and as a result hurting the England national team's ability to produce players. According to FA Chairman Greg Dyke, 122 players have been granted work UK work permits since 2009, of which half required an appeal, a process that is successful nearly 80 percent of the time. Of the players who were granted permits on appeal to play in the Premier League, Dyke claimed only 58 percent made any appearances for their primary club by their second year.
The changes don't seem to be targeting players like Yedlin, though. While the appeal process would be significantly tightened, Yedlin would likely meet the proposed base requirements. As long as the United States remains among the top 30 in FIFA's rankings and Yedlin plays in 30 percent of their competitive matches over the past two years, he'd qualify automatically without needing to go through appeal. Under the current rules, players need to have appeared in 75 percent of their country's competitive matches in order to skip the appeal process. It would have been impossible for Yedlin to meet that criteria by next summer.
These proposed rules may also allow for Yedlin to avoid playing in most of the 2015 Gold Cup and join up with Spurs during their preseason. In order to meet the 30-percent threshold, Yedlin will need to have played in two more competitive matches by the end of the Gold Cup. That would give him five appearances in the United States' past 14 competitive matches.
One other ramification of these rules is that it would effectively eliminate the possibility of Yedlin being loaned to a lower-division team in England. Spurs could still loan him to another Premier League club, to a team elsewhere in Europe or keep him with the Sounders.
Of course, this is only what is being proposed. It's entirely possible that once the various parties come to an agreement, the rules could be something entirely different. It's also possible that Spurs could try to bring Yedlin to England during the January transfer window. But that would likely require Yedlin to go through an appeal process that is not always predictable or for him to somehow obtain EU citizenship, another murky process.