Freedom! Should Scotland revoke the ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ limiting the eligibility of Home Nation footballers? (Part 2)

Published 21 February 2020 By: Gavin Brogan

Homenations Football

This two-part article examines the ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ entered into between the football associations of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland (the Home Nations).   The agreement adds additional restrictions to FIFA’s player eligibility regulations owing to the fact that the United Kingdom is sovereign state (with citizens sharing British nationality) yet has four distinct national teams.  Part 1 (available here) examined the evolution of the terms of the gentleman’s agreement alongside FIFA’s eligibility regulations. 

Part 2 (below) moves on to anayse the relevance and desirability of the agreement in the context of modern, globalized football and increased player migration, and asks whether there is any legitimate reason why it should not be revoked.  Specifically, it looks at:

  • Examples of countries relying on players who have ‘switched’ nationality on residency 
  • The reality of increased player mobility in modern global football
  • How does football compare to other Home Nation sports?
  • What is the reason for the Home Nations’ position?


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Gavin Brogan

Gavin Brogan

Partner, Digby Brown


Gavin is a Partner at one of Scotland's largest specialist litigation firms.

He undertook a commercial traineeship at Dentons in Glasgow and Edinburgh before moving to his current firm where he specialises in reparation litigation.

Gavin maintains an interest in sports related legal matters and is currently attending the Global Masters in International Sports Law from Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economia (ISDE), in Madrid.

Gavin is a keen amateur footballer. During his time at Glasgow University, he played for the Glasgow University amateur football team that qualified for the professional Scottish Cup.

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