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News

Mon. 20 May 2019

Length of passes: the best like it short

Issue number 263 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post analyses the average length of passes by teams from 35 European domestic leagues. The study highlights big discrepancies in playing styles. There are almost 8 meters difference between the teams that executed the longest and shortest passes: Rotherham United (23.42m) and Paris St-Germain (15.85m).

Many very competitive teams are in the top 25 of the rankings for the shortest passes, including Champions League semi-finalists FC Barcelona (2nd) and AFC Ajax (5th), as well as Europa League finalist Chelsea FC (4th). The vast majority of teams executing the longest passes are in the bottom-half of the table in their respective leagues. Getafe CF is the exception that confirms the rule.

The analysis per league also reveals the persistence of cultural differences in the approach of the game. Teams from the Scottish Premier League (21.08m) and the English Championship (20.58m) execute on average the longest passes. At the opposite end of the table, we find the French Ligue 1 and the Finnish Veikkausliiga (18.89m in both cases). Data comes from InStat.