GBE criteria: Post-Brexit transfer market in Women’s football

Serie A Femminile Text graphic for The Data Scout by Marc P. Lamberts.

There’s that word again: Brexit. It has and will have a deep impact on football, especially on the transfer market. But how does it exactly have an impact on the transfer strategies of clubs and what are GBE criteria? We will explain that in this article.

Post-Brexit work permits

After Brexit was officially introduced and the UK has left the European Union, it impacted the football industry too. Many clubs in the UK have always looked at talent across the pond and it was easy to obtain due to the EU. With Brexit, this has changed and everyone outside the EU will need to qualify for a work permit. Like players from other continents have always had to do.

So how does this affect transfer strategy and policy? Where before, clubs in the UK could focus on a few countries for their talent, they now have to factor in if they qualify for a work permit. Only high-potential talents or established reputational players do make a chance of qualifying for GBE criteria. That means that UK clubs are shifting their policy:

  • Focus more and more on their own academies and homegrown talent
  • Only high potentials from the EU
  • Because players from the EU need the same requirements/criteria as the rest of the world, markets like Asia, North America, South America, and Australia, becoming more interesting

Governing Body Endorsement Criteria (GBE)

Scouts, recruitment analysts, and DoF’s dream about it at night – and not in the good way – GBE requirements. What are they? These requirements have been put in place to see that only elite talent or elite players are able to come to the UK. This is often done in the light of protecting the domestic players/clubs.

In order to qualify, every player needs to collect points, 24 to be precise, in five different categories:

  • International appearances
  • Player’s domestic minutes
  • Player’s continental minutes
  • The final league position of player’s last club
  • Quality of the transferor club

We will briefly explain how this exactly works. The first thing you need to know before we go into these categories is that you have a Band I and Band II of leagues. This is how the quality of the leagues is measured:

  • Band I: English Women’s Super League, Australian W-League, French Feminine Division 1, Italian Femminile Serie A, German Frauen Bundesliga, National Women’s Soccer League, Spanish Women’s Primera Division, and the Swedish Damallsvenskan.
  • Band II: All other leagues

Next to the leagues, we also concentrate on continental competitions in Band I or II.

  • Band I: UEFA Women’s Champions League and Copa Libertadores Femenina
  • Band II: All other continental competitions

GBE Criteria: International appearances

Credit: The FA

In the table above you see different forms of information. It shows us the percentages of appearances combined with the given points. It also shows us the rank of the countries on the FIFA ranking. The higher the country is on the FIFA ranking, the more points you accumulate.

This is the only category where you can get an auto pass. It plainly means that if you have played that number of minutes and high percentage, you automatically qualify for GBE without having to look at gathering points.

GBE Criteria: Player’s domestic minutes

Credit: The FA

In the table above we see how high the percentage is for the points, you can acquire in two different bands. As you can see it’s easier to accumulate points for Band I and that’s the consequence of the FA seeing that these leagues are considered of a higher quality.

GBE Criteria: Player’s continental minutes

Credit: The FA

The table above isn’t dissimilar to the one about domestic league minutes. It measures how many points are given considering the number of minutes played in a season within a continental competition and makes a distinction between Band I and Band II.

GBE Criteria: Final league position of player’s last club

Credit: The FA

In terms of the final league position of the player, it doesn’t matter if you play in Band I or Band II. It all focuses on what you have achieved with your club. These might not seem like the first thing you would think about when talking about GBE criteria, but they do add to it.

Quality of the transferor club

Credit: The FA

The last category can be seen in the table above. You can get points for the quality of the club where the player is coming from. This will add to your total in order to see if you as a player, are GBE qualified.

If you are looking to recruit a player in women’s football, these criteria need to be met if they are outside the UK. For men’s football, there are slightly different rules, but in the article above we have only looked at the women’s side of the game. It’s also important to stress that some rules are slightly different in Scotland.

It has been made more complex for clubs to find that talent/player that isn’t only good enough to recruit, but also qualifies when looking at the GBE criteria. It might seem very daunting, but when you have all categories listed alongside the player’s profile, it is very much manageable.

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