Beyond Words - Language Blog

Language Test for Immigrants Causes a Stir Amongst English Soccer Fans

Just days after we reported on Canada’s new immigration policy, English authorities have moved to implement mandatory language testing for immigrants.
Soccer Ball
Interestingly, the move in England has caused a near panic amongst fans of English football, who fear that the new English proficiency test would keep some of the world’s great football prospects, mostly African and Latin American, from playing on England’s club teams.

As reported in the Daily Post, England’s immigration minister, Liam Byrne said, “Footballers are not exempt from language tests. There will be no special treatment. One set of rules for everyone. There will have to be a basic standard of English, not GCSE or A-Level, but a basic command. They will be more successful members of society if they can speak a bit of English.”

English football fans are shouting foul, some even declaring that the language test will spell the end for English football. These fans certainly don’t have much faith in the capabilities of their favorite athletes to learn English. Perhaps, the English have unfairly surmised the intellectual prowess of the typical footbal star by the famous quote from an unnamed German footballer when he stated, “Football is a lot like chess, but without the dice.”

With all of the international attention being raised by language testing and immigration policy, it makes me wonder. How do you think a similar policy would be received here in the U.S.?