FIFA Professional Football Report 2019 which is aimed at assessing the level of professionalism in the game in member associations focused on domestic leagues, clubs and players based on information from member associations.
The report says Africa has 600 professional football clubs and Senegal has the most with 48. Tunisia (38), Cote d’Ivoire (38), Zambia (36) and Cameroon (33) follow in that order.
One key indicator of the report was the Club Licensing and how clubs in the 211 member countries of FIFA adhere to it.
Although the implementation of the Club Licensing in Ghana started in 2013, most Ghanaian clubs haven’t been able to meet its requirements, such a salary cap for players, improved training facilities, amongst others.
Requirements of the GFA Club Licensing
Sporting: The existence of youth development programme and youth teams
Infrastructure: Stadium suitability in terms of capacity, playing surface, spectator area, first aid, the existence of a training facilities
Administrative Personnel: The existence of an office or club secretariat, requisite staff and the availibility of properly detailed job descriptions
Legal: details of ownership and registeration
Financial: the existence of audited annual financial statements
Below is the executive summary of the report
The FIFA Professional Football Report 2019
provides further insights into the ins and outs of club football across the 211 FIFA
member associations. A new approach was adopted for this year’s research, as the report shines the spotlight on each individual country and provides a number of comparative statistics both at global and confederation level.
As a separate study was recently published by the FIFA Women’s Football Division, this edition of the report only covers men’s club football.
Overall, the information contained in the report may be divided into four main areas:
players, clubs, domestic competitions (with a specific focus on each country’s top-tier competition) and international transfers.
According to the information provided by the MAs (180 countries are considered in
this statistic) there are at least 100,765 professional football players around the world.
England leads the way on this score, ahead of Turkey, France, Sweden and Italy. On the
other hand, football may still be considered completely amateur in many nations as 43 countries did not report any professional players.
In terms of player nationalities, the vast majority (81%) of MAs reported that in their countries, at least three out of four top-tier players are domestic. UEFA represents the exception in this regard, as only 41% of its countries described having the same scenario.
This year’s research also analyses a series of aspects of labour relations in club football.
Interestingly, despite being an extremely common feature in the CONMEBOL (100% of the countries) and UEFA (87%) regions, player associations are present in only half of the 211 FIFA countries.
Collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) are even rarer; only one fifth of the countries reported the
existence of such an instrument to regulate relationships between management and labour. The situation is similar when looking at some general contractual aspects. Slightly less than a third of the countries have standard contracts in place, whilst 32% have a regulation requiring some kind of
minimum salary for football players. At least 3,425 professional clubs currently exist around the world (195 countries considered), with Turkey (126) heading the ranking ahead of England and Argentina.
Nearly a third of the MAs stated that there are no professional clubs in their country, whereas more than 40 professional sides may be found in only 10% of the 211 nations.
CONMEBOL is the only confederation where all the MAs are home to at least a professional club, whereas the OFC – with just one club having this status – represents the other end of the spectrum.
The information collected on club licensing confirms that the process towards full implementation at global level is moving
forward at a very promising pace, as 91% of the countries have some sort of regulations in place.
During the 2018 or 2018/2019 season, a domestic top-tier competition took place in 205 countries, the only exceptions being Canada, Liechtenstein, Mali, Montserrat, Sierra Leone and Yemen. In nearly two thirds of the cases, the organiser of the competition was the MA as opposed to a league. From a more commercial perspective, 63% of the top-tier competitions are supported by a title sponsor, with telecommunications (telco), financial services and food & beverage (F&B) being the most
represented industries. With regard to broadcasting rights, collective negotiation is by far the most common option; only in 23 countries do clubs individually sell the rightsto televise their matches.
In terms of competition format, the report provides detailed analyses at country level. Overall, nearly two competitions out of three are structured around the traditional home/away format, whereas promotion and relegation mechanisms are implemented in all but 39 countries.
With regard to sporting regulations, it is very common (reported in 71% of the countries) to find measures limiting the number of players that a club may register. Similarly, restrictions on foreign players are present in three out of four countries globally. On the contrary, regulations directly aimed at
nurturing of domestic talent are much rarer as only 31% of the 211 countries have sort of home-grown player rule.
Benefiting from FIFA TMS data, the last section focuses on international transfer
activity during the 12 months of 2018. On average, transfer windows covered slightly
more than a quarter of a year (97 days).
Both the longest and shortest aggregate periods could be found in Africa, in Benin (178 days) and Somalia (13) respectively.
Looking at the volume of transfers, one quarter of the 211 countries had no incoming players from abroad, whereas only 37 MAs saw more than 150 new international signings.
Unsurprisingly, 70% of them are from the UEFA region. A similar scenario is reflected in the volume of outgoing transfers, although in this case, the proportion of countries with no activity at all drops
down to 14%.
The picture is even more unbalanced when the values of international transfers are taken into account. Nearly half of the 211 FIFA MAs did not register any receipts from player transfer activity in 2018, and almost two thirds of the countries did not see any money spent on international transfers. Clubs’ aggregate spending exceeded USD 5m in just 20% of the MAs and only 18 nations had a total outflow of more than USD 50m, two thirds of them being from Europe.
Building on the previous two editions, the FIFA Professional Football Report 2019 provides a detailed snapshot of the status of club football around the world. We hope that this project will continue to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and data around
these key topics and contribute to the improvement of the club game at global level.