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Football’s Entente Cordiale / Football’s Entente Cordiale

Football’s Entente Cordiale

By on 31 March 2017

Article 50 was triggered this week beginning the UK’s exit process from the European Union and raises some serious issues for football in England, Scotland, N. Ireland and Wales. Before we go into some of the implications that this might have for the game here, SoccerAttic takes you back just over 44 years to the time when the UK, Ireland and Denmark first joined the ‘Common Market’, as it was known then. To mark this historic occasion, a commemorative football match was held at Wembley Stadium on January 3rd, 1973.


The match was played between a team made up of players from the ‘Three’ new nations – Denmark, Ireland and the UK – and the ‘Six’ nations who were already members – Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and West Germany. The line-ups were as follows:

The Three – Managed by sir Alf Ramsey (England)

P Jennings (Spurs and N Ireland); P Storey (Arsenal and England); E Hughes (Liverpool and England); C Bell (Manchester C and England); A Hunter (Ipswich and N Ireland); R Moore (West Ham and England); P Lorimer (Leeds and Scotland); J Giles (Leeds and Rep of Ire); C Stein (Coventry and Scotland); R Charlton (Manchester U and England); H Jensen (Borussia Monchengladbach and Denmark).

The substitutes were: J Olsen (Utrecht and Denmark) who came on for Colin Bell and Alan Ball (Arsenal and England) who came on for Jensen.

The Six – Managed by Helmut Schoen (West Germany)

C Piot (Standard Liege and Belgium); M Tresor (Olympique Marseille and France); B Vogts (Borussia Monchengladbach and W Germany); H Blankenburg (Ajax and W Germany); F Beckenbauer (Bayern Munich and W Germany); J Neeskens (Feyenoord and the Netherlands); J Grabowski (Eintracht Frankfurt and W Germany); W van Hanegem (Feyenoord and the Netherlands); G Muller (Bayern Munich and W Germany); G Netzer (Borussia Monchengladbach and W Germany); G Bereta (St Etienne and France).

The substitutes were:

D Zoff (Juventus and Italy) who came on for Piot; W Suurbier (Ajax and the Netherlands) who  came on for Tresor; R Krol (Ajax and the Netherlands) who came on for Beckenbauer; H Wimmer (Borussia Monchengladbach and W Germany) who came on for van Hanegem.

Some brief action from the game is here:

The Three vs The six – Wembley Stadium, January 3rd 1973

Colin Stein from Shoot 202 30 June 1973

Colin Stein scored one of the Three’s goals

In amongst all the political machinations, very little has been said thus far on how Brexit will affect football in this country and how different it might have been over the last 20 years or so had we not had free movement of players between the EU and EFTA nations. From this article in the Telegraph Online the  current requirements for foreign players to  join the Premier League are:

  • A player from a FIFA ranked top-10 nation only who has to have played in 30% of games in the two years prior to application to be granted a work permit
  • A player from a 11-20 nation who must have played in 45% of international games
  • This rises to 60% for the next 10 countries, and 75% for countries ranked 31-50

Leaving the European Union means that players from the 27 countries still in the union would need to meet these exact criteria to qualify for an automatic work permit, unless other regulations were made. Arsenal  fans this means no Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy or Hector Bellerin. Chelsea fans no Diego Costa and Manchester Utd. no Anthony Martial or Paul Pogba in his first spell. And there are plenty more, not to mention the legions of EU and EFTA players who play in The Championship.