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SBD Global/November 13, 2013/International Football

Bloomberg Sports Data Shows English Football Players Lagging Behind European Peers

The Premier League "is a global league in which the players from nearly 70 countries have come to earn wages they would not get in their own lands," according to Rob Hughes of the N.Y. TIMES. Everyone "is welcome, as long as they have the talent and the owners (also increasingly non-British) pay the money." But "isn’t this just the way of the world?" Surely the free movement of players "is to be applauded, not denigrated?" And "doesn’t it apply across Europe?" Answers to those questions, and more, "can be gleaned from numbers from Bloomberg." As football gains a foothold in the U.S., and as the EPL "becomes more widely televised there, Bloomberg Sports has begun throwing the full weight of its statistical analysis to what is happening in European" football. Even the Bloomberg data technicians said that "they were surprised by the minute-by-minute assessment of playing time in the big five leagues of Europe: England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France." English players "fare worse than their European counterparts in getting time on the field, either in their own league or in any other." The Bloomberg Sports data shows that Spanish and French players "get twice as much playing time in Europe as English players." ManU's Wayne Rooney "is perhaps the only British soccer player who could fit into most leagues abroad." English players "have logged a total of 69,246 minutes in the top leagues, far behind the 178,611 of the Spanish and the 173,085 of the French." The Italians (120,309 minutes) and Germans (111,737) "get significantly more time too, both in their own and in other top European leagues." The Bloomberg Sports data "also show that one English player -- just one -- has had any game time" on the fields of the other four leading football nations in Europe so far this season, for a grand total of 90 minutes. That player, Charlie l’Anson, "has played one game in the Spanish league for Elche this season" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/12).
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