Bulgaria Sees Massive Growth in 'Import' of Footballers
The logo of Bulgaria's A Professional Football League
Bulgaria's top football league registered a 6.9% increase in its number of expatriate footballers during the last year, according to the new Demographic Study of the CIES Football Observatory.
This is the largest growth among a total of 31 football championships surveyed. The Balkan country is followed by Ukraine (+6.2%).
At the opposite end of the table is Greece, where economic turmoil has provoked a fall in the rate of expatriates (-14.9%). The rate of expatriates now represents less than one fifth of squad members only in three championships (Slovenia, Serbia and Croatia) out of the 31 reviewed.
The latest report identifies that expatriate footballers represent more than one quarter of players in all positions, with a record high of 44.3% among forwards. Their percentage is above 50% in six championships out of the 31 surveyed (Cyprus, England, Portugal, Belgium, Italy and Turkey). The level observed in the top Cypriot league is the highest ever recorded (74.2%).
Brazil remains by far the top exporting country. However, the overall number of Brazilians has fallen slightly during the last year, from 524 to 515. Conversely, expatriates from the second most represented origin, France, have significantly increased from 245 to 269. The highest increase overall was measured for Spanish (+34 to 148) and Portuguese players (+41 to 171).
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