LONDON (Reuters) – English clubs are spending more money in the international transfer market than any other country in the world according to a FIFA report published on Wednesday.
The findings of the 2015 FIFA/TMS Global Transfer Market Systems Report, covering the last 12 months, shows English clubs spent more than US$770 million on foreign players — about US$308 million (67 percent) more than their nearest rivals Spain.
In total, clubs around the world spent US$4.06 billion signing players from outside their own borders. The report does not include domestic transfers.
Brazil is the most active country in terms of international transfers with 1,335 deals — incoming and outgoing — followed by England with 1,263 and Portugal with 823.
One area highlighted in the report for the first time concerns the transfers of young players under the age of 18.
Spanish clubs sign more overseas youngsters under 18 — a fact highlighted last week when Real Madrid unveiled 16-year-old Norwegian “wonderkid” Martin Odegaard who they bought from Stromsgodset earlier this month.
Real’s arch rivals Barcelona have been hit by a FIFA transfer ban for breaching the strict rules regarding the signing of young players, while Real Madrid are also being investigated by FIFA for alleged similar offences.
The report states: “In 2014, Spain was the country that engaged the highest number of minors. 400 minor applications were submitted, and 352 were accepted. This is a much higher number than any other association worldwide.”
Mark Goddard, general manager of FIFA/TMS, told a conference call: “It is important to note that the more minor applications the better. We are happy to see they are putting in so many applications — that’s what they should be doing.
“We can then examine them and the ones that do not break any rules are approved.”
The FIFA/TMS partnership was established in 2007 with the transfer matching system (TMS) set up to facilitate and monitor international transfers.