Percentage of club-trained players continues to fall

Percentage of club-trained players continues to fallZurich - The percentage of club-trained players in the top European leagues has continued to fall, a study conducted by the Professional Football Players' Observatory (PFPO) has found.

Football's governing body FIFA said Monday in a statement that while the number of club-trained players was decreasing, the number of expatriate players was increasing.

The PFPO was brought into being by an academic partnership between the International Centre for Sports Studies (University of Neuchatel, Switzerland) and the Centre of Research and Study on Sport (University of Franche-Comte, France).

In the fourth edition of the Annual Review of the European Football Players' Labour Market, published on Monday, the PFPO concluded that the percentage of club-trained players was down to 21 per cent.

"The highest value is for France (30.3 per cent), down from 35.3 per cent in 2007/08. The lowest value is for Italy (12.8 per cent). The percentage of matches played by club-trained players has also shrunk: from 16.5 per cent to 15.9 per cent," the statement said.

The report also found that the number of expatriate players had risen to 42.6 per cent, with the highest percentage of 59.2 in England.

For the first time-ever, the number of foreign players in Germany has outnumbered that of local players with 50.2 per cent, while the five top-ranked clubs in the leagues have nearly 55 per cent expatriate players, with the highest percentage being recorded at Liverpool, who had 90 per cent foreigners on their books.

FIFA said that the study uses data developed by cross-checking a number of sources (press, yearbooks, internet sites) and extensive personal research.

"It covers footballers playing during the 2008-09 season in the following leagues: English Premier League (20 clubs), French Ligue 1 (20), Spanish Primera Division (20), German Bundesliga (18) and the Italian Serie A (20)." (dpa)