Global Transfer Market 20120


Last week, FIFA Transfer Matching System GmbH published the “Global Transfer Market 2012″ report which presents data about international transfers of professional football players aged over 18 years old. The report covers 200 countries and more than 5,600 professional clubs. The vision of FIFA TMS, who controls the process of players transfers is to foster and sustain a transparent global transfer market, based on integrity, responsibility and innovation.

Key figures of the market in 2012:

  • 11,552 international transfers performed successfully (increase of 1% compared to 2011);
  • Overall, European countries were the most active;
  • 64% of transfers occurred in January, July and August 2012;
  • On 31 January and 31 August 2012, there was a transfer every 5 minutes;
  • The most represented nationality in the transfer market was the Brazilian one, followed by Argentine and the ones belonging to the United Kingdom;
  • Average age of players transferred internationally: 24 years and 10 months (equal to 2011);
  • 39% of international transfers involved players aged between 20 and 24 years old;
  • 70% of international transfers involved out of contract athletes (equal to 2011), 12% involved loans between clubs (36% with monetary compensation), 10% direct transfers between clubs (85% with monetary compensation) and 8% returns on loans;
  • 14% of international transfers were performed involving monetary compensation between clubs;
  • 67% of clubs belonging to associations overseen by FIFA acquired at least one athlete and 79% sold at least one player;
  • Total compensation between clubs: 2.000 million Euros (drop of 10% compared to 2011);
  • Average compensation between clubs: 1.2 million Euros (break 11% compared to 2011);
  • Average length of contract of players acquired at no cost: 1 year and 4 months;
  • Average length of contract of players acquired through monetary compensation: 3 years;
  • Average length of loan agreements: 10 months;
  • Average annual fixed salary of the players transferred to Italy (the country with the highest average salary among the six most active countries in the market): 550 000 Euros;
  • Average annual fixed salary of the players transferred to Brazil (most active country in 2012 recording 11% of the total transfers): 61 000 Euros.
  • Change in the involvement of intermediaries in international transfers compared to 2011: + 19%;
  • Compensation paid by English clubs to intermediaries in international transfers (the highest in the world): 45 million Euros.


Incoming and Outgoing Transfers by Region

The European market registered the majority of the incoming and outgoing transfers in 2012. The African and North American markets were the ones with the highest growth while the South American and Asian regions registered a decline.

Incoming Transfers
Outgoing Transfers
Var. (%) Incoming Transfers
Var. (%) Outgoing Transfers
% Total Incoming and Outgoing Transfers
Var. (%) Total Incoming and Outgoing Transfers
South America1.9922.014-4%-5%17,3%-4%
North America80466611%1%6,4%6%

Most Active Countries in the Transfer Market in 2012

Regarding the most active countries in the market in 2012, there is mainly a trend for the entry of a greater number of foreign players in the English market and the larger internationalization of the Spanish player, certainly encouraged by the achievements of the Spanish national team. In percentage terms, the countries with the largest growth in the number of entries were Iraq (342%), Ivory Coast (322%) and Liberia (300%). Regarding the outgoing transfers, the top 3 in percentage terms, is composed by Gabon (75%), Hong Kong (72%) and Malaysia (69%).

Most Incoming Transfers
Most Outgoing Transfers
Highest Increase of Incoming Transfers
Highest Increase of Outgoing Transfers
CountryNr. TransfersCountryNr. TransfersCountryIncrease (Nr.)CountryIncrease (Nr.)
Italy263France359Czech Rep.38Italy34
France227Germany311Bulgaria34Costa Rica31
USA225Uruguay256China32Côte d'Ivoire30

Balance of Incoming and Outgoing Transfers (€)

With regard to the balance of each country between revenues and expenses with players transfers, Brazil and Portugal lead the top 10 countries whose benefits were higher than expenditures while England and Russia lead, prominently, spenders top 10.

Net recipients
Net spenders
CountryAmmount (€)CountryAmmount (€)
Brazil93 millionEngland241 million
Portugal79 millionRussia196 million
Italy70 millionTurkey60 million
Netherlands66 millionChina38 million
Spain38 millionGermany33 million
Uruguay38 millionUkraine28 million
Switzerland31 millionFrance23 million
Chile29 millionAustria10 million
Belgium27 millionUAE9 million
Argentina23 millionWales8 million

Average annual salary paid to players transferred into the 6 most active countries in the Market in 2012 (fixed compensation)

Regarding this aspect, there is still a large gap between the European and South American markets.

Average (€)
Median (€)
Italy552 thousand227 thousand
England521 thousand86 thousand
Germany299 thousand69 thousand
Portugal184 thousand45 thousand
Brazil61 thousand5 thousand
Argentina31 thousand18 thousand

Commissions paid to intermediaries in International Transfers

England, Italy and Russia lead the top 10 countries that paid the highest values to intermediaries in 2012.

Ammount (€)
England45 million
Italy31 million
Russia18 million
Germany9 million
Portugal8 million
France4 million
Denmark2 million
Wales996 thousand
Scotland996 thousand
Norway996 thousand

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Nuno Bolas

Escrito por: Nuno Bolas

Consultor e Analista, Mestre em Gestão pela NOVA - School of Business and Economics.

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