International Centre for
Sports Studies

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


Mon. 13 November 2023

World demographic study: 48 leagues compared

The 89th CIES Football Observatory Monthly Report compares 48 leagues around the world according to the demographic characteristics of the players in the club’s first team squads: 31 top divisions of UEFA member associations, nine of CONMEBOL, six of AFC and two of CONCACAF. It reveals major differences in the strategies followed by clubs according to their geographical area.

In terms of age, the average measured across the 31 top divisions of UEFA associations is almost one year lower than that recorded in the 17 non-European leagues: 26 years compared to 27. With regard to the proportion of expatriates, the difference is almost 10%: 43.6% in Europe versus 23.8% elsewhere. These findings reflect the greater propensity of European teams to rely on young players, whether having grown up domestically or imported from abroad.

While the South American and Asian leagues tend to be similar both in terms of age, with relatively few young players, and origin, with comparatively few expatriates, they differ greatly in terms of squad stability. The proportion of players who have been with the club for less than a year is almost 10% higher in the nine South American leagues than in the six Asian championships analysed: 49.0% compared with 23.8%.

Also regarding stability, there are spatial specificities within Europe too, with fairly different levels emerging around a double polarity of West (more stability) – East (less) and North (more stability) – South (less). These geographical differences also reflect economic disparities, with the most competitive clubs tending to have a more stable workforce than the others.

>>> Access the Report for free

>>> View all CIES Football Observatory reports

This website uses cookies – limited to technical and analytical cookies – in order to allow your browsing and enhance your experience.

For more information, please see our cookie policy and our privacy notice.

I understand