Neil Doncaster announces "hugely significant" Celtic transfer boost

By John McGinley

December 6, 2021

The UK Government will not abolish the Exceptions Panel that allows Scottish clubs such as Celtic to easier sign players from overseas, SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster has revealed tonight.

The panel allows clubs to apply for a Governing Body Endorsement on a discretionary basis if they do not reach the points threshold to qualify for an employment visa. In the wake of Brexit, it’s a crucial part of the signing process for many clubs in Scotland.

It had initially been thought the panel would be discontinued after the summer 2021 transfer window, but an agreement has been reached.

Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for cinch

Doncaster said in a statement tonight, as quoted by Football Scotland: “The retention of the Exceptions Panel is hugely significant achievement for Scottish football and also protects the interests of the many Scottish clubs whose business model depends on the import, development and onward sale of overseas players.

“Given the significant number of overseas players who enhance our league, and Scotland’s relatively small size in comparison to other nations, it was absolutely imperative that we were able to convince the UK Government to maintain the Exemptions Panel.

“Failure to do so would have dramatically compromised the competitiveness of Scottish clubs, particularly when playing in European competitions, and it is fantastic news for our game that we have managed to secure such a crucial agreement with the UK Government.

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“It is no exaggeration to say that this was one of the most pivotal issues for our clubs and I am absolutely delighted that we have managed to secure this ongoing arrangement. The alternative did not bear thinking about – and would have severely restricted the number of marquee players coming into our game, with disastrous financial consequences.”

All of this essentially means that Brexit won’t quite have the impact on Scottish transfers as everyone first thought, which is indeed a welcome development.

It will allow Celtic to continue to scour foreign leagues for talents who aren’t quite established at the elite level but who can be polished and sold for massive profit. We’ve seen the club do that with players such as Virgil van Dijk in the past, who would not have been eligible under initially proposed new rules.

Exciting times are ahead for Ange Postecoglou and the Bhoys.

In other news, Rivals announce massive derby date for Celtic B; hostile atmosphere in Govan.