International Centre for
Sports Studies

Avenue DuPeyrou 1
2000 Neuchâtel
Tel +41 32 718 39 00


Thu. 08 November 2018

New report unveils drastic changes in European football over the past 10 years

The long-term work carried out within the CIES Football Observatory focuses, in particular, on the demographic analysis of the football players’ labour market. The surveys carried out over the past decade allow us to reveal very clear trends. As illustrated in Monthly Report number 39, the footballers’ labour market in Europe is becoming deterritorialised by a decreasing presence of club-trained players, a stronger presence of expatriate footballers and greater mobility.

The percentage of club-trained players in the 31 European divisions surveyed reached a new record low on the 1st of October 2018: 16.9% (-6.3% in ten years). The decrease observed during the last year has been the greatest ever recorded (-1.6%). In parallel, the proportion of expatriates has increased to a record level of 41.5% (+6.8% in ten years). The process of internationalisation of squads has accelerated: from an annual growth of 0.55% between 2009 and 2013 to an average increase of 1.17% between 2014 and 2018.

In the conclusion, the authors state that “more and more teams are geared towards the short-term. In an increasingly segmented and speculative context, club officials tend to optimise financial returns on the transfer market to the detriment of more eminently sporting considerations. The increasing instability that results limits the sporting competitiveness of an ever greater number of teams, to the advantage of the wealthiest and better structured clubs, who increasingly dominate the proceedings”.