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Men’s Football: 18,068 Players Switched Clubs in 2021—Report

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By Adedapo Adesanya

There was a 5.1 per cent increase in the number of international transfers in men’s professional football as a total of 18,068 players switched clubs in 2021, signalling a return to the levels of 2019 despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This was contained in the Global Transfer Report 2021 published by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), which charts the transfers of men’s and women’s players in both professional and amateur football.

No fewer than 54,739 transfers across borders were recorded in 2021 out of which 19,372 involved professionals (men and women) while another 35,367 involved amateurs.

These 18,068 transfers involved a new record high of 4,544 clubs from 185 different associations, compared to 4,162 clubs in 2020, with 15,617 players representing 179 different nationalities.

A continuous trend was seen as transfer fees decreased for the second consecutive year in 2021 to $4.86 billion, a fall of 13.6 per cent from 2020 and 33.8 per cent from the all-time high of 2019.

Another key positive from the report showed that women’s football is still booming

According to the world’s football governing body, women’s football continued to go from strength to strength in 2021, with the number of clubs involved in international transfers rising from 347 in 2020 to 414 last year, a 19.3 per cent increase.

This reflects the impressive strides being made as more and more female players are turning professional every year.

About 1,304 international transfers were recorded in the year under review, an increase of 26.2 per cent compared to the previous year, which had also recorded an increase of 23.3 per cent.

In contrast to the men’s game, spending on transfer fees in women’s professional football increased by 72.8 per cent $1.2 million in 2020 to $2.1 million in 2021.

Amateur Football Transfer Impressive

Transfers in the vast world of amateur football have been recorded in TMS since July 2020, which means that the data covered an entire calendar year for the first time.

The results from 2021 are certainly impressive, with 17,571 clubs from 201 member associations involved in the transfers of 35,367 amateur players (men and women) of 202 different nationalities.

Germany recorded the highest numbers of both incoming (5,122) and outgoing (2,651) transfers.

For each of the above categories, the Global Transfer Report 2021 includes analyses on the players’ nationalities, ages, and movement between confederations and associations.

For professional players and in addition to the list of top transfers, the report also provides further analysis in respect of employment contracts while also presenting the top performers at confederation, association and club levels.

The report also features a complete list of the number of transfers in each member association for each of the respective categories.

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