International Centre for
Sports Studies

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News

Wed. 15 May 2019

Report and Atlas on expatriate footballers disclosed

For the third year, the CIES Football Observatory analyses the presence of expatriate players in 147 leagues from 98 national associations. Brazil is clearly at the top of the rankings for countries exporting the most footballers (1,330 players), ahead of France (867) and Argentina (820). Alone, these countries export almost a quarter of footballers (22.5%). Overall, the number of expatriates increased by 5.0% compared to 2018.

During last year, the number of expatriates has increased for each of the three principle exporting countries: Brazil (+64 players, +4.8%), France (+37 players, +4.3%) and Argentina (+57 players, +7.0%). The number of Spaniards abroad has also strongly increased (+61 players, +14.3%). This is the second biggest increase in absolute terms after that of the Brazilians.

The most frequented migratory route originates from Brazil and ends in Portugal (261 players). The migration of Argentinians to Chili (116 players) is the second principle axis. Two migratory channels departing from England also involve many footballers: the first ends up in Scotland (113 players), while the second leads to Wales (92 players).

England and Italy are the chief importing countries of footballers. The professional clubs of these countries employ 728 and 636 expatriate players respectively. Without taking into account the 139 citizens of the other UK nations present in England, it is thus in Italy that the greatest number of players imported from abroad are to be found.

The CIES Football Observatory research team is also proud to disclose the brand new Atlas of Migration mapping the international flows of footballers.