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Volume 10 No. 25
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CIES Football Observatory Publishes Demographic Study Of Top UEFA Associations

CIES Football Observatory has revealed its sixth annual demographic study on 31 top division leagues of UEFA member associations. The study shows that European football is still confronted with processes that do not necessarily augur well for its future. The cloud of economic stakes that hangs over sporting logics is flagrant in many clubs and countries. In general, the number of transfers carried out by teams during the current season is at an all-time high. This is difficult to understand given the actual climate with its numerous financial difficulties. The increasing speculation surrounding players’ transfers is also visible through the progressive drop in the number of club-trained players, which has attained its lowest level since '09. Conversely, the percentage of expatriate players has risen for the second consecutive year to its highest total ever. Key figures include:

  • The relative presence of footballers playing for the club where they were trained reached a record low of 21.2%.
  • The EPL has the second highest percentage of expatriate footballers (60.4%), just after Cyprus. Expatriates also represent a majority of squads in Italy, Turkey, Portugal and Belgium. The greatest proportion was measured at Inter Milan (89%).
  • While Brazil remains the most represented foreign origin, the number of Brazilians decreased by 67 since '09, from 538 to 471. France is the nation with the second-highest number of expatriates in top division European leagues: from 247 to 306 during the last five seasons.
  • Italy and England top the table for the largest squads (26.8 players per club on average). Serie A also gathers the most seasoned footballers (27.3 years) and the lowest percentage of club-trained players (8.4%).
  • Barcelona has the most stable squad among European top division teams. Players in the Catalan club have been on the first team squad for an average of 5.5 years. The average stay is longer than five years in only one other club: ManU (CIES Football Observatory).
 An excerpt of the study is available here.