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CIES annual review – Fewer home-grown players

The Professional Football Players Observa¬tory, created with the support of FIFA in partnership with the International Center for Sports Studies (CIES) in Neuchatel (Switzerland) and the University of Franche-Comte (France), published the third edition of the Annual Review of the European Football Players’ Labour Market on 14 August. The review’s most revealing finding is the consistent increase in the percentage of foreign players with clubs in the top flight of each of the
five main European leagues (Germany, England, Spain, France and Italy).
The research shows that foreign players made up 42.4% of all players employed by English, Spanish, Italian, German and French clubs during the 2007-08 season. This represents a 3.5% increase over the previous season. The figure reached 59.5% in the English Premier League, 52.6% among the top five clubs in each league and 50.5% among strikers. For the first time, foreign players scored more than half of the total number of goals (51.9%).
The number of Latin Americans among the foreign players rose by 2%; non-European players now represent 50% of the total number of foreign players. This percentage was only around 30%
before the introduction of freedom of movement in European football. By far the greatest number of foreign players came from Brazil, which exported 158 players. Their contingent has increased by 12.9% compared to the previous season (+18 players).
The publication also shows that the percentage of locally trained players on clubs’ books continues to decrease, while player’s mobility is steadily in¬creasing.
In view of these figures, the FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has highlighted the need to have solidarity and maintain a balance in football. He is convinced that the introduction of “6+5″ will redress the balance in sporting terms. Blatter’s proposal has the backing of many associations: “Continents like South America and Africa are behind us on this, as they are the main suppliers for big European clubs and they are suffering from the exodus of their players.”