Foreign Footballers In European Leagues Surges

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The CIES Football Observatory Monthly Report for November published on Monday revealed that the percentage of foreign footballers in the 31 top division Europe Leagues has increased significantly.

In 2009, the figure was 34.8% which has now hit a new record of 38.7 percent year to date. The report noted that the presence of club-trained players continues to decrease: from 23.0% in 2009 to 19.2% in 2016.

According to the report, the league with the highest percentage of expatriates, defined as footballers playing outside of the country where they started playing and from where they departed following recruitment by a club overseas, was in Cyprus, where foreigners represent 65.4% of the players.

The Cypriot league was followed by Turkey (62.0%), England (61.8%), Belgium (60.1%) and Italy (56.2%), while Serbia was at the bottom of the list with 16.1%.

Slovakia heads the list of leagues with the highest number of club-trained players in Europe with 31.5%, followed by Ukraine (30.6%) and the Czech Republic (28.6%). Bottom of that list comes Turkey (6.9%), with a club-trained player described as one having played at least three seasons between 15 and 21 years of age in his employer team.

The study also showed that “greater international mobility of players brings with it a growing instability in squads”.

The average number of players recruited during the year among those present on October 1 has increased from 9.1 in 2009 (36.7% of squads) to a new record f 10.7 in 2016 (43.9%).

The average length of stay of players in their employer club has never been as low as in 2016: 2.2 years.