FOOTBALL: Cyprus topflight ranks second for oldest players in Europe

Cyprus’ First Division features the most expatriate footballers of 31 European leagues while it has the second-highest average squad age and huge player turnover, according to a new survey.

A survey conducted by the Football Observatory of the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES), reveals that Cypriot clubs prefer to make short-term investments for quick gains rather than invest in long-term projects.

It shows that Cyprus has the highest percentage of foreign footballers with 66.8%, followed by Portugal with 63.6% and Turkey with 62.4%.

These three countries are the only countries with a rate of foreign players exceeding 60%. The league with the least expatriate footballers is the Serbian Super League with 14.8%.

To make matters worse, six out of the 10 European teams with the highest percentage of minutes by expatriates played so far this season are Cypriot.

Pafos FC tops the list with 93.9%, while AEK Larnaca is third with 92.5%, APOEL FC fourth with 90.8%. Omonia FC, Apollonas and Anorthosis also make it into the top 10.

At the same time, the Cypriot Championship remains one of Europe’s oldest with its players’ average age 27.41 years.

Cyprus is last but one on the list, ahead of the Turkish Super League, which has an average age of 28 years.

Regarding indigenous players competing in the Cyprus Championship, 14.2% are club-trained, meaning they come from the academies of the teams in which they compete.

This is a relatively low percentage, but better than Turkey (8.7%) and major European leagues such as Italy, Germany, England but also Portugal, Belgium and Russia, where teams can afford to “buy” players from smaller clubs in the country.

It is noteworthy that for the first time since 2009, there was a pan-European increase in homegrown players, although at a very low rate (0.2%), with Cyprus showing a 1.6% increase.

President of the Cyprus Footballers Association Spyros Neophytides said the report reveals that Cypriot clubs have a poor mentality when it comes to building their teams.

We see that clubs are following an opportunistic policy, investing in short-term projects by bringing in a large number of foreign players. A large percentage of these players are at the end of their careers, shooting up the average age of the league, said Neophytides.

He explained that this is troublesome, as clubs are not based on healthy foundations, with teams replacing their players more often than clubs in other European leagues.

Cyprus has one of the highest turnover rates, as 55.3% of players in the First Division joined their clubs this year.

Cyprus is second in the table, behind Romania (58.2%) and ahead of Turkey (54.1%) on this score.

In major championships such as England’s Premier League and Germany’s Bundesliga just 27% and 30.8% of players respectively joined their teams during the current season.

Teams in these championships prefer to maintain the core of their squads investing in long term projects and introducing homegrown players, said Neophytides adding that clubs need to exhibit more patience.

He said that taking a shortcut to success is not sustainable as it comes to the expense of local players and especially young talent.

While we understand the argument that this model is behind the success of two or three top teams who pulled-off European feats, we cannot accept this argument can be used in defence of the majority of teams in the Cyprus first division, said Neophytides.

He said teams in the second division are also following this ready-made imported model which is minimising opportunities for homegrown young players.

CIES, established in 2005, is based in NeuchAtel of Switzerland and employs several researchers specializing in statistical analysis in football.

Source: The Financial Mirror

FOOTBALL: Cyprus topflight ranks second for oldest players in Europe

Cyprus’ First Division features the most expatriate footballers of 31 European leagues while it has the second-highest average squad age and huge player turnover, according to a new survey.

A survey conducted by the Football Observatory of the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES), reveals that Cypriot clubs prefer to make short-term investments for quick gains rather than invest in long-term projects.

It shows that Cyprus has the highest percentage of foreign footballers with 66.8%, followed by Portugal with 63.6% and Turkey with 62.4%.

These three countries are the only countries with a rate of foreign players exceeding 60%. The league with the least expatriate footballers is the Serbian Super League with 14.8%.

To make matters worse, six out of the 10 European teams with the highest percentage of minutes by expatriates played so far this season are Cypriot.

Pafos FC tops the list with 93.9%, while AEK Larnaca is third with 92.5%, APOEL FC fourth with 90.8%. Omonia FC, Apollonas and Anorthosis also make it into the top 10.

At the same time, the Cypriot Championship remains one of Europe’s oldest with its players’ average age 27.41 years.

Cyprus is last but one on the list, ahead of the Turkish Super League, which has an average age of 28 years.

Regarding indigenous players competing in the Cyprus Championship, 14.2% are club-trained, meaning they come from the academies of the teams in which they compete.

This is a relatively low percentage, but better than Turkey (8.7%) and major European leagues such as Italy, Germany, England but also Portugal, Belgium and Russia, where teams can afford to “buy” players from smaller clubs in the country.

It is noteworthy that for the first time since 2009, there was a pan-European increase in homegrown players, although at a very low rate (0.2%), with Cyprus showing a 1.6% increase.

President of the Cyprus Footballers Association Spyros Neophytides said the report reveals that Cypriot clubs have a poor mentality when it comes to building their teams.

We see that clubs are following an opportunistic policy, investing in short-term projects by bringing in a large number of foreign players. A large percentage of these players are at the end of their careers, shooting up the average age of the league, said Neophytides.

He explained that this is troublesome, as clubs are not based on healthy foundations, with teams replacing their players more often than clubs in other European leagues.

Cyprus has one of the highest turnover rates, as 55.3% of players in the First Division joined their clubs this year.

Cyprus is second in the table, behind Romania (58.2%) and ahead of Turkey (54.1%) on this score.

In major championships such as England’s Premier League and Germany’s Bundesliga just 27% and 30.8% of players respectively joined their teams during the current season.

Teams in these championships prefer to maintain the core of their squads investing in long term projects and introducing homegrown players, said Neophytides adding that clubs need to exhibit more patience.

He said that taking a shortcut to success is not sustainable as it comes to the expense of local players and especially young talent.

While we understand the argument that this model is behind the success of two or three top teams who pulled-off European feats, we cannot accept this argument can be used in defence of the majority of teams in the Cyprus first division, said Neophytides.

He said teams in the second division are also following this ready-made imported model which is minimising opportunities for homegrown young players.

CIES, established in 2005, is based in NeuchAtel of Switzerland and employs several researchers specializing in statistical analysis in football.

Source: The Financial Mirror