New study reveals growing instability in European football

erica 1 nov

Since 2009, the CIES Football Observatory has monitored the evolution of the demographics of players in 31 European top division leagues. The 2017 census reveals the intensification of the key trends observed throughout the period analysed: decrease of club-trained players, increase of expatriates and growing squad instability. The Monthly Report number 29 presents the data for all leagues studied.

Henceforth, club-trained players only account for 18.5% of squads (-4.7% since 2009). It is the lowest figure ever recorded. Conversely, the percentage of expatriates reached a new record high: 39.7% (+5.0% since 2009). A new record high was also observed with regard to the percentage of players signed during the year: 44.8% (+8.1% since 2009).

These trends reflect the increasing speculation on transfer operations and, more generally, in the management of professional teams across Europe. The central question is to know just how far this process can go without jeopardising the interest of competitions, the credibility of professional football and its sustainable development in the majority of countries.

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