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Thu. 30 September 2021

International Basketball Migration Report 2021 marks milestone with tenth edition

The International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) and FIBA have published the International Basketball Migration Report 2021.

This tenth edition marks a significant milestone for FIBA and CIES, with this year's report continuing to emphasize the global nature of basketball, a sport played by millions of players worldwide, supported by FIBA's 212 National Federation members.

The International Basketball Migration Report 2021 edition provides insight to the basketball community into the global migration of players for the 2020-21 season. FIBA's knowledge and data on international transfers has been combined with the CIES Sports Observatory's renowned expertise in analysis to document the international migration of players for this season, as well as migratory trends and tendencies of the sport across the globe.

The 2020-21 season saw a marked decrease in transfers with 7,687 recorded, involving 6,254 players. The previous edition of this report was only able to touch slightly on the global pandemic, but in this edition, it is clearly evident that COVID-19 has deeply impacted the 2020-21 season across a wide range of issues, including international transfers and shortened seasons in some countries.

Some of the main highlights from this year's findings are:

Significant decrease of International Transfers – Turnover of Players

Due to the pandemic, there has been a big decrease regarding International Transfers, the lowest since the 2014-15 season. There was a substantial decrease across the regions, except for Oceania, and the figures show that men were more affected than women. There was, however, a notable increase in the percentage of players both remaining in their own country or staying at the same club. This sense of having better stability appears to have been due to the pandemic.

Highest number of games recorded - High number of foreign players per league

The number of games was impacted by the pandemic during the 2019-2020 season when most of the leagues were cancelling their respective seasons. During 2020-21, a far higher number of games were recorded, with an average of 269.5 games across all the leagues. The Japanese league recorded the highest number of games at 574. The number of foreigners remained high, with leagues in Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Greece and Israel all having more foreigners than nationals. Spain had the highest percentage of foreign players and the highest number of nationalities. However, the average minutes per game of these foreigners was the lowest. In 11 of the 16 of the leagues, foreigners had an average of 20 minutes or above, showing that many clubs still rely heavily on non-domestic player.

A trend of International Transfers confirmed in the US Leagues

The turnover of International Transfers in the NBA was the lowest since the 2001-02 season and the main reason was that the 2020 NBA Summer league was canceled. An increase is expected for the next campaign when it resumes.

Click here to download the full report.


About FIBA
FIBA ( - the world governing body for basketball, is an independent association formed by 213 National Basketball Federations throughout the world. It is recognized as the sole competent authority in basketball by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
For further information about FIBA, visit or follow FIBA on and

About CIES - The International Centre for Sports Studies
Creating an impact on the way sport is managed worldwide.

The International Centre for Sport Studies (CIES) is an independent study centre located in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. It was created as a foundation in 1995 by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the University of Neuchâtel and the City and State of Neuchatel.

Using a multi-disciplinary approach (law, sociology, geography, history and management), CIES provides research, top-level education and consulting services to the world of sport. For further information visit

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