Brexit sports economics

Mahmudur Rahman   | Published: July 14, 2018 21:13:14 | Updated: July 14, 2018 21:48:04


Working weekends are never fun as Theresa May and her British cabinet colleagues will have found out. In the vast but nonetheless cloistered expanse of Chequers, her rural retreat, her colleagues are to have hammered out a negotiating position that in Ms May's words 'are good for the UK; good for the EU'. Whatever this achieves, perhaps the almost weekly likelihood of a vote of confidence will now be spared. Ms May has bigger challenges in meeting Tory MPs in the coming days.

Three obviousness have emerged. Close union with the European Union (EU) with parliament supervision; a replacement of free movement with something more palatable; keeping British laws sovereign.

The ink had barely run dry before Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Steve Davis distanced themselves from the agreement and resigned. That signals two of the staunchest Brexit proponents abandoning ship. Jacob Rees-Mogg has held his peace even though he complained about the accord. Now that US President Donald Trump has delivered the double whammy of decrying the new approach as well as all but scuppering prospects of a trade deal with the UK, Ms. May cuts a lonely figure putting on a brave face even with a full cabinet in place. Mr. Trump has merely restated that he wants better trade deal with the EU and if that means unfavourable terms for the UK, as must be so-well and good. At stake is UK's $ 94 billion exports to the US and $ 138 billion imports - something Mr Trump glosses over. Ms. May must now find a substantial second and third option to direct most of the $ 350-odd billion that the UK exports to the EU. Brexiters point  with glee at the 850,000 German cars that the UK imports each year. Those will become decidedly expensive even as the wind down begins to phase out fossil fuel-driven vehicles.

A vast majority of London's tourists are from the EU and there's no real survey to figure out how happy a post-visa situation they envisage to enjoy a night out or watch a football game. Air B&B, hotels and taxis are already nervous about the outcome of a hard Brexit because of the inevitable consequences. What now opens up is a new scenario with further challenges to Ms. May's leadership, addressing the divisive rift in the Tory party and a further skirmish over a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Eire.

At grave risk will be European football. The fixtures and player movements will become difficult as will the ease with which players can be transferred. Ownership issues have already emerged. Roman Abramovich had to watch the last few games of Chelsea's seasons from outside of the UK for visa complications. Football rakes in big money, especially for the Champions League. The FA Cup alone has a £ 730 million per year TV rights value, the Premier League is worth more than £ 1.0 billion all of which is channelled either in to the game or to the clubs. If Migration is hampered, fewer players will be inclined to participate in a league that prospers in international players and raises support bases throughout the world. Players make their money with clubs and raise the attraction of the World Cup. On a smaller scale but just as prestigious is the Wimbledon tennis, Formula 1 racing, Golf and Cricket. For a nation that thrives in sports, Brexit could deal a damaging blow.

mahmudrahman@gmail.com

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