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New study: demographic profiling of European football

The CIES Football Observatory research group is happy to disclose its 79th Monthly Report on the demographic profile of players, clubs and leagues across Europe.

In 2022, new records were set with regard to the percentage of expatriate footballers (42.3%) and, negatively, for the proportion of club-trained players (17.0%). In both cases, the trend reversal observed following the pandemic was short-lived.

The sample analysed includes 12,281 players active in 477 clubs of 31 top divisions of UEFA member associations.

The typical portrait of the footballer in the sample is that of a man aged 26, with a height of just over 182 cm, present in the first team squad of his employer club for two years and three months and having in almost six cases out of ten already lived an experience abroad during his career.

A new record for the percentage of expatriate players was notably broken in the Italian Serie A (61.7%).

The Italian top division also holds the negative record for the percentage of club-trained players in squads: 8.4%. These findings reflect the lack of importance given to training in the country, which reduces the pool of talents with a sufficient level to play at the highest level.

Clubs in three of the five major leagues have the most stable squads: the English Premier League with a player’s average tenure in the first team squad of his employer club of 3.1 years, the German Bundesliga (3.0 years) and the Spanish Liga (2.9 years).

The longest player’s average tenure per club was recorded for Champions League title holders Real Madrid (5.1 years), which confirms the importance of long-term planning for optimum results.

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About the CIES Football Observatory

The CIES Football Observatory is a research group created in 2005 within the Swiss-based Centre International d’Étude du Sport (CIES). It specialises in the statistical analysis of football, in particular in the areas of demographics, transfer values and performance.

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About the CIES

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

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CIES – Centre International d’Étude du Sport

Avenue DuPeyrou 1, 2000 Neuchâtel
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Phone +41 32 718 39 00
Fax +41 32 718 39 01


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