Global football player transfers exceed 71,000, yielding $6.5b fees

FIFA today announced that football player transfers around the world are at all-time high, exceeding 71,000 players for the first time.

According to the world football governing body, transfers in women football increased by 19 per cent, and almost 50,000 amateur players of over 200 nationalities were involved in international transfers.

The FIFA 2022 Global Transfer Report copied to Ghana Business News, shows that 71,002 transfers across borders were made in 2022, with 21,764 involving professionals (men and women) plus 49,238 amateurs.

“There were 20,209 international transfers in men’s professional football in 2022, representing an increase of 11.6 per cent compared to 2021 and even exceeding the levels of 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. These transfers – 2,843 of which included transfer fees – involved a new record high of 4,770 clubs from 182 different associations, compared to 4,538 clubs in 2021. A total of 17,291 players representing 183 different nationalities were on the move in 2022,” it said.

The report citing Emilio Garcia Silvero, FIFA’s Chief Legal and Compliance officer said: “The two-year negative trend in clubs’ spending on transfer fees was turned around in 2022, with last year’s total outlay reaching $6.5 billion, an increase of 33.5 per cent compared to 2021, yet still below the all-time high of 2019.”

The report notes that the top ten player transfers alone generated 12.5 per cent of the entire amount that was spent on transfer fees in 2022. Similarly, of the 2,843 transfers that included fees, the top 100 were responsible for almost 50 per cent of all money spent on transfer fees, with English clubs once again topping the list.

“For the first time, their total outlay exceeded the $2 billion mark and reached a record high of almost $2.2 billion.

With total receipts of $740.3 million, clubs from France received the biggest share of all associations. For the first time ever, Portuguese clubs completed more incoming transfers than clubs from any other association, with a total of 901 incoming transfers in 2022. Brazil, on the other hand, released the highest number of players, with a total of 998 outgoing transfers,” it added.

The report indicates that there has been growth in women’s football as the number of international transfers has more than doubled since 2018 and the introduction of the requirement to use Transfer Matching System (TMS). When there is an international transfer, the buying and selling clubs have to register it on FIFA’s TMS in order for international clearance to be generated. The buying club have to upload all the information to the system and the foreign club have to match all the details.

It states further that in 2022, the number of clubs involved in international transfers went up from 410 in 2021 to 500 last year, a 22.0 per cent increase.

“All of this reflects the impressive strides being taken as more and more female players continue to turn professional. Some 1,555 international transfers were recorded in 2022, an increase of 19.3 per cent compared to the previous year, while a new high of 119 associations were involved in international transfers,” says Silvero.

The ongoing war in Ukraine, the report pointed out, also had impact on the numbers in amateur football last year as Ukrainian nationals were by far the most represented group of all amateur players who transferred in 2022, with a total of 5,910 transfers, more than 60 per cent higher than the 3,661 transfers completed by French players, the second largest group.

By Emmanuel K Dogbevi
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