GBE. These three letters caused an incredible stir in the football world. Three letters to refer to the " Governing Body Endorsement", that’s to say the work permit which is necessary to every non-British footballer in order to practice his job in the United Kingdom and notably in the prestigious Premier League. If the Brexit has had already a political impact, it has also an impact on sport as this "GBE" entered into force for the current 2020/2021 winter transfer window.
This work permit is based on points system : 15 points are required to obtain the green light. The player can earn points by playing competitions with his club but also with his national team. Whether with a senior team or at the youth level. That’s where the Maurice Revello Tournament (formerly known as the Toulon Tournament), which features every year 12 nations from all around the world, comes in.
The Football Association has unveiled its "Criteria", a very detailed document that explains how to obtain the "GBE". In this document, the FA explains that several national, continental and international competitions have been divided into "Bands", that’s to say categories which are sorted hierarchically. If a competition belongs to the "Band 1", it brings a maximum of points for the player who takes part in this event. This is the case of the Maurice Revello Tournament which has been selected in the "Band 1" of the youth international tournaments in the same way as the World Cup U20, Euro U21 or even… the Olympics !
A legitimate status according to Guy Ipoua, the Newcastle United scout. " This is due to the quality of players who took part in the Maurice Revello Tournament throughout the years", he explains. Before adding. "It’s been now eight years that I’m going to the Tournament, every year we are aware that future football stars pass by our eyes. […] Even in the Euros or other competitions, sometimes we don’t find this type of players. By coming to the Maurice Revello Tournament, we know that we can observe the best youngsters at the European level or even global level. […] That’s why we find every year at this event so many scouts and sporting directors from the biggest Europeans clubs", said the Magpies scout.
The Stade d'Honneur (Salon-de-Provence) grounds during France-Brazil at the Maurice Revello Tournament 2019
If it represents already a real interest for the football professionals, the Maurice Revello Tournament will increase its attractiveness as the competition will allow to the participating players to earn points in order to obtain the work permit. "The advantage of this GBE is that it puts the Maurice Revello Tournament on the same level as FIFA and UEFA tournaments", analyses Archad Burahee, a French agent working in England. This latter insists on the fact that the Maurice Revello Tournament can represent a real asset in order to obtain the work permit. " For example, it was impossible before to transfer a player from Africa to England directly without an obligatory transition in a European league. But, now if a young professional playing in his continent takes part in the same time at the Maurice Revello Tournament, he can found himself on the radar of English Premier League scouts. It’s a real filter."
The Bestway Soccer representative provides us more details with another case : "Let’s take the example of the Chinese keeper Chen Wei, named best goalkeeper of the Maurice Revello Tournament 2019. Even if he didn’t boast the required number of points for the work permit, given that he took part in the Maurice Revello Tournament and he is playing for a top Asian club (Shanghai SIPG) involved in the AFC Champions League, he could be considered for a GBE by an Exceptions Panel. Before, only the FIFA ranking of the national team was taken into account".
Chen Wei, the Shanghai SIPG keeper, named best goalkeeper of the Maurice Revello Tournament 2019
This opens the possibility for English clubs to explore new markets. "The biggest change is the following : a player based in France, Germany or Spain can be signed like a player who belongs to a Chilean, Mexican, Brazilian or Argentinean club while it wasn’t possible before. The real difference is here : players from South America or Europe can go in England in the same way", told us Guy Ipoua. He confirms that the Tournament will become increasingly attractive. "If the Maurice Revello Tournament was almost an obligatory rendezvous, now it becomes unmissable for all clubs. A youngster taking part in the Tournament will earn points that are necessary to his arrival in England. We’ll be even more focused on these players as we know that we can sign them”, said the Newcastle United scout.
This would result in strengthening the Maurice Revello Tournament’s competitiveness according to both agent and scout. "The advantage for the English clubs is that this will lead to a creaming and filtering from the federations which will send their best U20-U21 teams", predicts Archad Burahee. Same thing for Guy Ipoua : "The quality and the competitiveness of the Tournament can increase in the next years as a youngster who has the desire to play in England knows now that representing his country at the Maurice Revello Tournament can allow him to earn an amount of points."