By Jerry Kilby
The decision by the UK public in their recent referendum has caused shock waves not just throughout the European continent, but also all over the world.
Very few commentators really believed that the UK public would vote for leaving, but that only demonstrates how out of touch they were with public opinion.
The UK public voted in favor of leaving the European Union for many reasons, but I sense that the main reason was because the EU now is responsible for around 65 percent of the laws that govern UK society. I wonder how Americans would feel if politicians and bureaucrats that were elected by the populations of neighboring countries were responsible for law making in the USA?
I will not attempt to try and explain how we have arrived at such a situation, but suffice to say that the view of the UK public is now clearly different from our continental European cousins, many of whom see “ever closer political and economic union” as a goal to work towards, and potentially even a “United States of Europe” as the end game.
Will this decision affect the European club industry? In the short- and medium-term, no. Nothing will change for a few years, whilst the politicians are talking and planning the exit strategy. In the longer-term however, perhaps three to five years from now, it is expected that the citizens of many European countries may need to apply for a visa to enable them to enter the UK, potentially for temporary visits (like vacations) and certainly for work. However, like the existing agreements with other countries, I feel sure that reciprocal arrangements will be agreed that will allow many people from all over the world to move with relative freedom to and from the UK.
Whilst there are a few clubs in various European countries that have members living around the continent, the vast majority draw their members from their own communities, many of which are fairly local, so this decision is unlikely to affect a club’s ability to retain and recruit their membership.
The only area where the Brexit decision may affect clubs is the national economic situation, as a rise in interest rates might cause some headaches for financial controllers, and if economic uncertainty starts to trigger another recession across Europe, this would undoubtedly affect those clubs and resorts who rely on the tourist for their revenues.