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What BREXIT's impact on free movement means for athletes and the sports industry

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Monday, 23 April 2018 By Hazar El-Chamaa

On 29 March 2017 Theresa May triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.1 But this was not without a fight, on 24 January the Supreme Court ruled against the Secretary of State in the R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union2 making it necessary for the government to put the question of invoking Article 50 to a vote in Parliament. That vote was won on 13 March 2017 allowing ministers to start the two-year formal Brexit process. The UK and the EU therefore have until 29 March 2019 to negotiate the terms of the UK’s withdrawal, unless this is extended by mutual agreement.

So what does this all mean for the sport industry that is heavily influenced by the UK’s membership of the EU? The impact is yet unknown as it is dependent on the outcome of the withdrawal negotiations. However, what has been made clear by the government is that the right to freedom of movement as we know it will end. Accordingly, this section explains the movement rights of athletes and others involved in the sports industry at the following critical junctures:

  • The pre-Brexit position

  • The post-Brexit future

  • Life in the lead up to Brexit

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Hazar El-Chamaa

Hazar El-Chamaa


Hazar is a partner in the immigration team at Penningtons Manches. With over ten years’ immigration experience, she provides global immigration solutions to large multinational organisations from a wide range of sectors including sports and entertainment.

She is an elected trustee of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (ILPA) and has provided training for ILPA, the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) and the Boarding Schools Association. Hazar is recommended by TheLegal 500 and is included in the CitywealthLeaders List 2016 for immigration.


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