Rangers are in “extremely new territory” over their reported agreement to sign US wonderkid Francis Jacobs from Orange County.

The Athletic has reported the Gers have reached an agreement to sign the 15-year-old midfielder, who become the youngest professional footballer in USA history at the age of 14.

Jacobs has a UK passport but according to sports lawyer Andrew Visnovsky, the deal might not be completely straight forward and an application might have to be made to FIFA due to Brexit.


Writing on his personal Twitter account on Monday, Visnovsky said: “Jacobs won’t be able to transfer his registration to Scotland until the next transfer window after he turns 16 (so, the summer 2021 window), if not 18 (the summer 2023 window) at the earliest. (The EU transfer exemptions for minors no longer applies to the UK).

“It was never an explicit exception in the RSTP (Regulations on the Status
and Transfer of Players) for players 16-18 who have citizenship in the destination country to be able to move, but pre-brexit FIFA allowed for 16-year-olds with EU/UK passports to move to Europe/the UK in recognition of the EU’s rights to work and reside.

“I don’t know if FIFA would recognize that for the UK post-brexit, given they didn’t expressly address it in the changes to the RSTP. It’s extremely new territory.

“If having nationality of the destination country doesn’t automatically give you an exemption, the player and Rangers could apply to FIFA for a “limited minor exemption” to try to make it happen. Barring registration of a national could be a violation of UK law. Who knows!

“Conclusion: the transfer for this young American isn’t happening until the summer, if not summer window 2023.”

One for Rangers’ legal team and FIFA

It’s all very complicated, isn’t it?

Let’s hope we don’t have to wait until 2023 to see Jacobs arrive officially at Ibrox because there’s no doubt that he and the club will want him to start his development in Scotland as soon as possible.

Brexit has had a big impact on the way transfers are done among British clubs.

In Scotland, pre-Brexit transfer rules were in effect in January but it remains to be seen what is going to happen going forward and whether a system similar to the one used in England is going to come into effect up here.

The fact Jacobs has a UK passport would suggest that there won’t be many issues in signing him but he’s still very young and, as Visnovsky says, it’s new territory.

There’ll be people at Ibrox and at FIFA’s headquarters who will know a lot more about it than us but either way, Jacobs will become a new Rangers player either this summer of in a couple of years’ time.

Let’s hope it’s the former.

In other Rangers news, this BBC pundit shared what he noticed about Ryan Jack’s injury on Sunday.


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