britain flag, engleska zastava.jpg
Photograph: Photo by UpSticksNGo Crew, used under CC BY

British sports stars and officials have given a mixed reaction to Britain's decision to leave the European Union, unsure of what it means for leagues and foreign athletes.

Positivity, anger, disappointment and uncertainty were among the emotions expressed by an array of famous names as they considered the implications of the so-called Brexit.

Greg Dyke, the chairman of the Football Association in England, said he felt Brexit could have a positive effect on young English players and was confident that the best foreign players would still be able to grace the Premier League.

"If it increases the number of English players, that is to be welcomed," he told the Press Association.

"It would be a shame if some of the great European players can’t come here but I don’t think that will happen. Whether the total number reduces will depend on the terms of the exit."

The English Premier League released a statement saying that its "strong domestic and global appeal" would continue "regardless of the referendum result", but acknowledged it was unable to deal in specifics amid the post-vote confusion.

"There is little point in second-guessing the implications until there is greater clarity."

Former England striker Gary Lineker was less circumspect, however. "Bloody hell! What have we gone and done?" he tweeted.

Meanwhile the British teams left at Euro 2016 were also quizzed out the result of the referendum but not concerned.

"Talking about being in or out of Europe, we're still in it and that’s only thing we care about as a team," Wales manager Chris Coleman said ahead of the game with Northern Ireland.

"We know we are playing Northern Ireland and whatever is happening on the political side of the fence will have to wait."

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill shared this view but expressed "regret I didn't give the players the chance for a postal vote."

Coleman however did say he feared that it could become more difficult for young coaches to go abroad, like he did when he coached Spain's Real Sociedad and Larissa in Greece before taking the Wales job in 2012.

"Even before the result I found it disappointing that young coaches dont travel abroad ... We know what its like at home. It's a shame not more have taken the leap. Its petrifying but worth it," he said.

Footballers who are citizens of EU member states could now be subject to the same work-permit criteria as non-EU players. This means they would need to meet strict Home Office guidelines in order to be awarded a work permit.

For example, a player from a nation ranked in the world’s top 10 would have to have represented their country in at least 30 per cent of international matches in the previous two years.

Under these rules, the likes of Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo and Dimitri Payet from hosts France would not have been able to move to England, where both made their name.

Another problem could be the devaluation of the pound, which may lead to difficulties in the international transfer market.

Brexit would also mean the UK would no longer be bound by the Kolpak ruling, which grants freedom of work and movement to citizens of countries that have signed European Union Association Agreements.

Many cricketers and rugby players from Africa, the Caribbean and beyond ply their trade in the country thanks to this ruling, which, if no longer valid, would mean they would no longer enjoy special status, resulting in a shrinking of the international talent pool.

Welsh rugby union star Jamie Roberts was scathing in his verdict of Brexit, complaining that many voters had made an ill-informed choice. "Gutted... Uneducated vote," he tweeted.

Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan was more cautious in his judgment.

"Only time will tell whether it's the right decision," he tweeted, before going on to criticise the "lies" of both the Leave and Remain campaigns.

Latest news

Stickers reading "Serbian Family Tree" appear in Vukovar

Stickers reading "Serbian Family Tree" with the image of people hanging from a tree and the face of Ante Pavelic, Croatian fascist dictator who led the Ustasha movement and the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), appeared at bus stations along Trpinjska Street in the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar on Friday.

Turkish ruling party launches campaign for constitutional changes

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Saturday formally launched its campaign for the upcoming referendum on core constitutional changes set to empower the presidency, with a mass rally at a sports arena in Ankara.

Top US general visits Syrian Kurds with focus on al-Raqqa campaign

A top US general visited Syrian Kurdish forces and their allies in northern Syria this week, amid signs the US military was increasing its support for anti-Islamic State forces, despite risks that such a move could anger neighbouring Turkey. 

Germany expects long-term migration growth after revising estimates

Net migration to Germany is expected to be 200,000 annually in the coming years, according to a news report to be published Sunday.

Malaysian police seek to reassure public over VX nerve agent

Malaysian police said on Saturday they would do everything possible to ensure there was no risk to the public from the lethal VX nerve agent used to kill Kim Jong Nam in the country's main international airport.

Cretu says Croatia must accelerate apsorbtion of European funds

The Commissioner also said that for the 2014-2020 period, Croatia would have twice the amount from the previous period at its disposal -- a total of EUR 10.67 billion.

Germany's Schulz accepts only 'small' role in party's poll boost

The main rival to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in this year's elections has said the boost in opinion polls for his Social Democrats (SPD) is not mainly down to him personally.

Coordinated suicide attacks kill over 40 in Syria’s Homs

Forty-two security personnel were killed Saturday in synchronized attacks targeting government security facilities in the Syrian city of Homs, a monitoring group said, with up to six suicide bombers reported to be involved.

Bangladesh PM calls for 'huge fund' to renovate factories

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday urged international clothing brands to help factory owners overhaul their facilities.

EC adopts delegated act on Teran, despite Slovenia's opposition

The European Commission has, despite Slovenia's opposition, adopted a delegated act whereby Croatian winemakers in Istria would be enabled to continue selling their wine made from the Teran grape variety under the name "Croatian Istria - Teran", and the act could be published early next week, the Slovenian news agency STA reported on Friday.

Filipinos mark 1986 mass uprising amid fears of new 'dictatorship'

Thousands of protesters on Saturday marked a 1986 mass uprising that ousted late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, amid fears of a crackdown against political opponents of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Rocket attack leave 2 students dead in eastern Afghanistan

At least two students were killed when a rocket fired by Taliban militants hit a school in Afghanistan’s eastern Laghman province on Saturday morning, local authorities said.