Stoke City and Burnley chairmen back second referendum to avoid ‘botched’ Brexit – UK

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Two football club chairmen in Brexit-supporting areas have warned the sport could suffer because of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

Peter Coates and Mike Garlick, the chairmen of Championship side Stoke City and Premier League team Burnley, revealed they backed a referendum on the outcome of the exit negotiations.

Freedom of movement ending and the fall in the value of the pound are their two biggest worries.

Stoke City Chairman Peter Coates in the stands
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Stoke City chairman Peter Coates warned of a ‘botched’ Brexit

Mr Coates said: “I love football, and I love Stoke City. I want the best for our club and for the future of our national sport.

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“It’s hard to see how a botched Brexit will help either, and the negative consequences are plain for all to see.

“The fall in the value of the pound that we’ve already seen, as well as the risk to our country’s economic prosperity, cannot be brushed under the carpet.

“Depending on the Brexit deal, the Premier League, one of our country’s success stories, could be damaged by freedom of movement restrictions. This could also affect the Championship.”

Theresa May says there is no alternative to the Chequers plan
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Theresa May has ruled out a referendum on the final deal

He added: “If this goes badly, it will be places like Stoke that suffer the most.”

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In Stoke-on-Trent, 69.5% of voters backed Brexit, while 67% voted to quit the EU in Burnley.

Mr Garlick said the government’s “destructive Brexit path” could have “a hugely damaging effect on football clubs across the country”.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Chairman Mike Garlick and Sean Dyche, Manager of of Burnley after the Sky Bet Championship between Charlton Athletic and Burnley at the Valley on May 7, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
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Burnley chairman Mike Garlick warned of a ‘widening inequality’ in the Premier League

He continued: “It threatens to make the widening inequality gap in our top division even worse.

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“The hit to the value of the pound against the euro, largely caused by Brexit uncertainty, is already making it harder for clubs to sign players.

“And ending freedom of movement will make it much more difficult for teams to attract the right talent, if the Government brings in more restrictive conditions for work visas for players from Europe.”

It comes after a senior minister was revealed to be polling constituents on their support for a referendum on the terms of Brexit.

Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly ruled out holding a nation-wide vote on the final Brexit deal.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also said he is “not calling” for one.

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