‘Football Manager 2017’ Video Game ‘Knows More About Brexit’ Than Ministers

The developers of the Football Manager 2017 video game have thought harder about Brexit than Government ministers, Labour’s Tom Watson has declared.

The Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary hit out after a string of Parliamentary questions yielded no clarity on how footballers and other sportsmen and women would be treated after the UK quits the EU.

The latest version of the popular Football Manager game includes a range of “Brexit scenarios” for players, including options from no migration to work permits under special conditions.

British game firm Sports Interactive modelled a number of different scenarios for what might happen to the immigration rules around foreign players, the impact on the football transfer market and on the ability of top clubs in the UK to attract the best players.

Watson tabled Parliamentary questions about the impact on professional sport of the same scenarios modelled by the game from “soft” to “hard” Brexit.

In-game, players of Football Manager 2017 are alerted at some point between two and 10 years in that trade negotiations have begun, and a year later a news bulletin details the extent of Brexit.

There are three main scenarios: 

1 Soft Brexit – free movement of workers remains.

2 Footballers are granted the same special exemptions that are currently given to ‘entertainers’. This means it is easier for them to obtain work permits than other people, and it will not have a huge impact on player movement from the EU.

3 Hard Brexit: similar rules to those which currently apply to non-EU players are adopted for all non-UK players.

In recent weeks, Watson asked ministers separate Parliamentary questions about each individual scenario.

But in their replies, ministers were unable to say anything about what the post-Brexit rules might be, or what effect they might have on sport including top-flight football.

Watson said told HuffPost UK: “Some people look down their noses at computer games, but it turns out that the games industry is thinking harder about Brexit than ministers are.

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