FROM the moment the Premier League was created in 1992, the balance of power in English football tilted irrevocably away from the Football Association.

This month, for the first time in more than two-and-a-half decades, the governing body has an opportunity to wrest back at least a degree of its former control. In the face of what is expected to be concerted opposition, it has to be strong enough to stand firm.

What has created the latest disagreement between the Premier League and FA? Brexit. Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union threatens to have far-reaching consequences in a host of different areas, with football having slowly realised that it will not be immune.

Why? Because at the moment, players moving to England from the European Union enjoy the same freedom of moment that is granted to an employee in any other sphere. From the end of next March, however, that will not be the case.

When Britain leaves the EU, a player wanting to join an English club from a European country will have to be able to satisfy the strict criteria linked to international caps and wages that currently apply to players from the rest of the world. In practice, this will make it much harder for English clubs to sign European players that are not already established as full internationals.

A club like Newcastle United, that has built a large part of its transfer model around sourcing young, unproven players from the continent in the hope of being able to sell them on at a profit would have to rethink its entire approach. The days of flooding a squad with talented French, Spanish or Dutch youngsters would be at an end.

Or at least it would if there wasn’t a loophole. The FA, as English football’s governing body, has the right to issue a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) for players joining an English club from abroad. In essence, this a free pass that circumvents the usual work-permit process and enables a club to sign a player even though he does not meet the criteria for international caps or wages.

The Premier League wants the FA to agree to a GBE for all intended signings in next summer’s transfer window, regardless of their country of origin or international record. England’s top-flight clubs argue, with some justification, that they would struggle to compete in Europe if they had to play by different rules to their continental rivals. They also claim the standard of the Premier League would decline dramatically if it was much harder to sign European players.

The FA is sympathetic to the Premier League’s concerns, and has suggested it is willing to overhaul the current GBE system. However, they have a condition of their own, and for the first time in decades, they are in a position to force the Premier League to agree to a rule change that puts the wider good of the English game ahead of the organisation’s own self-interest.

At the moment, eight players in a Premier League club’s 25-man squad have to be home-grown. That does not mean they have to be English, but it does mean they have to have spent three years in the academy of an English or Welsh club between the ages of 16 and 21. As a result, the vast majority are English players.

In return for changing their GBE regulations, the FA want to raise this figure from eight to 13. That would mean instead of being able to name 17 overseas players in their squad, as is the case at the moment, Premier League clubs would only be able to select 12.

That is a major change that could have a hugely beneficial effect on England’s national team. Gareth Southgate might be instinctively opposed to tinkering with quotas, but it surely has to help if Premier League clubs are forced to have more English first-team players on their books.

Last weekend, just 27.7 per cent of starters in the Premier League were English. The average for the season so far is only marginally better, at 29.8 per cent. Southgate was selecting from a shallow pool of talent when he picked his squad for last night’s friendly with the United States and Sunday’s Nations League match with Croatia. Even if an extra ten or 20 Englishmen were thrust into the Premier League picture, might that not help?

It might mean a Mason Mount getting a chance in the top-flight instead of having to drop down to the Championship with Derby County to gain first-team experience. It might have meant Phil Foden getting a much earlier opportunity with Manchester City instead of finding his route to the senior squad blocked by an array of overseas stars. It might force a club like Newcastle to buy emerging English talent from the Football League rather than plunder the rising forces in Ligue 1 or the Eredivisie.

Southgate is concerned that clubs would simply fill their bench with Englishmen, but even if that was the case, they would surely get a chance at some stage once injuries and suspensions began to bite. Better that they were the next port of call rather than nowhere to be seen.

The Premier League were discussing the FA’s offer at a meeting yesterday, and it is understood that there was considerable opposition to the idea. Premier League clubs feel the jump from eight to 13 is much too severe, and there have been suggestions they might be willing to compromise at ten.

For once, though, the FA should stand firm. For once, the cards are stacked in their favour, and having been little more than a door mat for the Premier League for far too long, this is a rare opportunity for English football’s governing body to call the tune.

IF you’re the manager of a mid-ranking Championship team, what is the worst thing you can do? As Slavisa Jokanovic can attest in the wake of his dismissal from Fulham this week, it is almost certainly get promoted.

Jokanovic led Fulham to promotion last season when few were giving them a chance, yet just 12 games into the current campaign, and he has been sacked.

Yes, the Cottagers need to improve their defending having spent £100m in the summer, but Jokanovic must be cursing the face that he over-achieved so dramatically last season. Had Fulham finished eighth last term, and been sixth in the Championship table at the moment, he would almost certainly still be in charge.