Press Release: New FA proposals to reduce non-EU players may backfire – and that’s a good thing!

Commenting on the Football Association’s first draft of proposals to reduce the number of non-EU players within English football, Head of Policy at the Adam Smith Institute, Ben Southwood, said:

The FA’s new proposals are very unlikely to achieve their goals, and may actually backfire — but that’s a good thing!

Their overall goal—cutting the fraction of non-EU players in the premiership by half—is wrongheaded. Clamping down on foreign players will hurt English club football without helping the English national team, according to the evidence.

Last month, Adam Smith Institute research showed there was no statistically significant link between either current or past prevalence of foreigners and how well England does in European or World Cups.

The actual proposals, however, contain a number of good ideas: automatically granting visas when clubs are willing to pay a large fee; and giving visas to players who play 30%, rather than 75%, of a top 30-ranked international team’s games. The old version of the latter rule was too tight and would have kept out, among others, Willian.

The proposals which tighten rules (clamping down on Championship visas, narrowing the visa extent to top 50 rather than top 70, and stopping subjectivity in appeals), though misguided, seem too trivial to have a large negative impact.

Overall most of the proposals are either trivial or welcome, and shouldn’t worry us too much. But the attitude and goals that the FA evince should worry us—cracking down on foreign players threatens to wreck English club football while doing nothing to improve the English national team.

Notes to editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at kate@adamsmith.org / 07584 778207.


The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.

Press Release: International tax rankings show that Britain risks being left behind leaner rivals

Commenting on the 2014 International Tax Competitiveness Index, Head of Policy at the Adam Smith Institute, Ben Southwood, said:

It’s a nasty surprise to see that the UK ranks behind Mexico for tax competitiveness, and highlights the risk of the UK falling behind in the international tax competition stakes.

In contrast to small open economies like Estonia who are simplifying their tax systems to be as attractive to investment as possible, the UK looks in danger of the same institutional sclerosis that has bedevilled other major countries.

Thankfully these large economies—including France, Italy, USA, Japan—all rank even worse according to the index, except Germany who beats the UK by only one place.

But this narrow victory shouldn’t be cause for complacency. International competitiveness is important and helpful for spurring politicians into action, but nothing like the whole story.

Adam Smith Institute research from March found that approximately 60% of the burden of corporation tax fell on workers in the form of lower wages, while the rest weighed on investment—even ignoring the international impact.

This suggests that going further and faster with corporation tax cuts could deliver a cocktail of much-needed economic growth and wage hikes at the same time.

Notes to editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at kate@adamsmith.org / 07584 778207.


The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.

“Left-Yes owes a debt to liberal right wing” – The ASI is featured in The Herald

The Adam Smith Institute was featured in The Herald’s article on the liberal right wing policies that would need to be adopted, should Scotland choose independence.

And while the left-Yes advocate what are promoted as radical new ideas for an independent Scotland, we should recognise that many of these ideas have their roots in the liberal right.

For example, the Citizen’s Income promoted by the Greens was advocated by the liberal economist Milton Friedman through a simple negative income tax starting rate, slashing the cost and complexity of delivering welfare. And just recently, the idea of an independent Scotland informally using sterling without a state central bank is simple liberal economics, as supported by the Adam Smith Institute.

Read the full article here.