Following the World Cup? Then you’re watching high-performing migrants at work

FIFA Cup Russia 2018

The FIFA World Cup™ Trophy © FIFA.com

Image: CIES Football Observatory

 

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Katie Hill, Advisor, Omidyar Network & Rose Mutiso, Co-founder and CEO, Mawazo Institute & Rebekah Shirley, Director of Research, Power for All

With the FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia in full-swing, billions of people around the world are cheering on their national teams as they do battle for the biggest prize in international football.

As the drama on the pitches across Russia was being played out, European leaders met to respond to mounting pressure to come up with a solution to Europe’s migration crisis. Some are pushing to tighten Europe’s borders, or close them to migrants altogether.

One irony that may have escaped those politicians, and football fans too, is that many of the players pulling on the jersey of their national team were born outside the country they play for with such passion.

Migrants in football

Almost one in ten players in the World Cup were born outside of their country. There are 1,032 players involved in the tournament. Of those, 98 were born beyond the borders of the country they are representing.

While only 11 players represent the team on the field at any one time, a national football squad can encompass 40 or more. Morocco has the highest proportion of foreign-born players, with 61.5% of players born abroad. Senegal’s team contains 39.4%of players born abroad, and Portugal fielded 32.1% foreign-born players.

Brazil, Germany, Mexico and some other countries had no players at all born abroad.

When we look at regional football associations, The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has the highest proportion of players born abroad, and UEFA – the European Association – has the next highest at 9.1%.

On average, 9.1% of players in the five regional leagues are born abroad.

Migrants in national leagues

Image: CIES Football Observatory

The vast majority of players taking the field in national leagues are playing outside their own country. Perhaps one of the most famous migrants in football is Cristiano Ronaldo. Born and raised in Portugal, he has played in the English and Spanish leagues for most of his professional career.

Mohamed Salah is an Egyptian-born player whose last minute goal helped send Egypt to the World Cup in Russia. He too plays in a foreign league – the English Premier League. In 2017, Salah became the first Egyptian footballer to be named the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year.

Every one of the players representing Croatia, Sweden and Iceland at the World Cup play in leagues outside of their own country.

Senegal, Serbia, Belgium and Nigeria all have players signed by clubs outside their own country. The percentage of players playing in foreign leagues ranges from 97% to 91.4%.

The global average is 64.6%.

Diversity in sport

And yet, while their achievements on the pitch are greatly celebrated, off the pitch (or sometimes even on) migrant footballers can suffer extreme racism.

Swedish midfielder Jimmy Durmaz became the subject of racist abuse on social media after he gave away the free-kick that led to Germany’s win.

Durmaz, who was born in Sweden to Assyrian parents, said that critics had “passed the limits” of acceptable criticism:

“When someone threatens me, when they call me darkie, bloody Arab, terrorist, Taliban … then that limit has been passed. And what is even worse, when they go after my family and my children and threaten them … who the hell does that kind of thing?”

The Swedish Football Association reported the abuse to police on behalf of the player.

Switzerland’s national team coach Vladimir Petkovic points out that cultural diversity is the secret to Swiss success.

“We have managed to bring together different cultures, different talents, different ideologies and they help us to play really good football,” Petkovic told a news conference.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Closing VAT loopholes for sales through online platforms

Is Data Privacy really safe seen through Commissioner’s PRISM?

New UN finance panel to push Global Goals forward

Bias in AI is a real problem. Here’s what we should do about it

Growth is running out of steam. How do we prepare for the next crisis?

Mosul’s ‘3D contamination’ adds to challenges of deadly mine clearance work

FROM THE FIELD: Children in warzones denied right to education

UN chief condemns attack in south-west Iran which killed dozens

EU and US close to an agreement on data sharing amid European citizens’ concerns

South Africa’s economy in 5 charts

Health services for Syrian women caught up in war, foster safety and hope: UNFPA

As a rising global power, what is India’s vision for the world?

UN chief calls for ‘far greater support’ for Cyclone Idai response

Joint UN-Congolese strategy needed to address insecurity following deadly attacks

Burnout is a pandemic. Why don’t we talk more about it?

IMF cuts global growth outlook, but predicts pick up later in 2019

Service and Sacrifice: Malaysian peacekeepers in Lebanon proud to serve their homeland and the United Nations

The financial sector cripples Eurozone growth prospects

Europe votes against GMOs but the Council votes for TTIP

The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

To Brexit, or not to Brexit…rather not: 10 Downing Street, London

Single-use plastics: New EU rules to reduce marine litter

Young people struggling in digital world, finds latest OECD PISA survey

The 28 EU leaders unable to start a relevant debate on migration and Brexit

Independent UN rights experts call for ‘immediate investigation’ into alleged Bezos phone hack by Saudi Arabia

COP21 Breaking News_08 December: Cities & Regions Launch Major Five-Year Vision to Take Action on Climate Change

Most US students aren’t learning about climate change. Parents and teachers think they should

Boat made of recycled plastic and flip-flops inspires fight for cleaner seas along African coast

Syria: WHO appeals for funding to sustain critical health care for millions trapped by conflict

SDG progress ‘in danger’ of going backwards without change in direction, new UN report reveals

Eight years in, Syria still embroiled in conflict ‘that no longer sparks outrage’, Security Council hears

UN highlights need to solve growing burden of forcibly displaced Africans

UN calls for funds to ease ‘deteriorating’ humanitarian situation in Gaza and West Bank

4 ways blockchain will transform the mining and metals industry

Travel the world, find yourself

COP21 Breaking News_10 December:#ParisAgreement: Points that remain in suspense

European Parliament approves more transparency and efficiency in its internal rules

A young person’s perspective on the Paris and Beirut attacks and aftermath

It’s time we took a seat ‘at your table’: Guterres calls on world youth to keep leading climate emergency response

Virtual Doctor: a core part of modern healthcare?

On Brexit: the outcome of UK elections next May to be based on false promises?

10 reasons why today’s cyber leaders are tomorrow’s world leaders

Theresa May’s global Britain against Philip Hammond’s Brexit fog

South Sudan’s women caught up in ‘futile man’s war’ UN gender equality chief

Does the EU want GMOs and meat with hormones from the US?

A backbencher Tory MP threatens both EU and UK with a no-deal Brexit

Antitrust: Commission imposes interim measures on Broadcom in TV and modem chipset markets

Deutsche Bank: the next financial crisis is here and the lenders need €150 billion from taxpayers

12 ideas on how the private sector can help ensure universal healthcare access by 2030

Canada has the most comprehensive and elaborate migration system, but some challenges remain

Libya on verge of civil war, threatening ‘permanent division’, top UN official warns Security Council

Getting people with disabilities into work requires data

How ducks are helping Bangladeshi farmers cope with cyclones

Draghi: ECB to flood Eurozone and the world with more zero cost money; risk of drowning in cash

Everything you need to know about the coronavirus

Oh, well, you are wrong, Google responds to the European Commission

Poliomielitis: climatic changes and impossibility in border control

The horrific trend of the anti-vaccine movement in Turkey

EU prepares itself to fight back against hostile propaganda

European Commission launches infringement proceedings against the UK following its failure to name a candidate for EU Commissioner

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s