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

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

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

Migration crisis update: lack of solidarity not only among EU leaders but also EU officials

EU economy: Between recession and indiscernible growth

British PM May’s Brexit proposal remains obscure while her government unravels

Sweden has a plan to end all traffic accident deaths

Why quantum computing could make today’s cybersecurity obsolete

We must build resilience to face the future – but will we be fast enough?

7 key challenges for the future of ASEAN – and how to solve them

Natural gas: Parliament extends EU rules to pipelines from non-EU countries

Young health workforce – a core of effective primary healthcare?

EU budget: Making the EU fit for its role as strong global actor

EP President at the European Youth Event: “Your ideas are key in shaping EU’s future”

Germany to re-invent its security position in Europe and a chaotic world

EU and Amazon cut deal to end antitrust investigation over e-books deals

Trade in fake Italian goods costs economy billions of euros

Europe should make voice ‘more heard’ in today’s ‘dangerous world,’ says UN chief

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

After music and TV, where will the streaming revolution take us next?

Inclusion, empowerment and equality, must be ‘at the heart of our efforts’ to ensure sustainable development, says UN chief

An economist explains what happens if there’s another financial crisis

Is the European Banking Union an impossible task?

Towards a climate-neutral Europe: EU invests over €10bn in innovative clean technologies

With 10 million Yemenis ‘one step away from famine’, donors pledge $2.6 billion

EU budget: Regional Development and Cohesion Policy beyond 2020

My unlimited China

3 reasons we should all care about biodiversity

Barriers to trade: as protectionism rises, EU continues opening up export markets for European firms

Ethiopia planted 350 million trees in a day. And its fight against deforestation does not stop there

Eurozone: Subdued inflation can lead to more recession

EU-Turkey relations: EU considers imposing sanctions while Turkey keeps violating Cyprus’ sovereignty

The Impact of climates changes in health: a problem for all of us

Antitrust: Commission fines US chipmaker Qualcomm €242 million for engaging in predatory pricing

Trump’s self-centered politics unravels

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page

Why a global recession isn’t inevitable

Tsipras imposes more austerity on insolvent Greece; plans to win new early election soon

FROM THE FIELD: Changing world, changing families

Public Policies for LGBT in Brazil

Hiring is broken. Here’s how to fix it

UN refugee agency presses States to aid 49 refugees stranded on Mediterranean

OECD: Mind the financial gap that lies ahead

FROM THE FIELD: Murals help heal wounds of bloody conflict in Guatemala

Is Eurozone heading towards a long stagnation?

International Criminal Court acquits former president Gbagbo of war crimes in Côte d’Ivoire

Europe on the Move: Commission completes its agenda for safe, clean and connected mobility

The sustainable fashion revolution is well underway. These 5 trends prove it

Social inclusion: how much should young people hope from the EU? 

How Germany strives to mold ECB’s monetary policy to her interests

How will EU look after French, Dutch and German Elections and what will be the implications for Youth Entrepreneurship?

Brexit mission impossible: Theresa May was so desperate that had to appoint Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary

Libya: $202 million needed to bring life-saving aid to half a million people hit by humanitarian crisis

Chart of the day: When do young Europeans leave home?

Is your business model fit for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Use “blockchain” model to cut small firms’ costs and empower citizens, urge MEPs

UN Security Council urged to act against ‘worst-case scenario’ Syria’s war-battered Idlib

‘No safe way’ into battle-scarred Afghan city of Ghazni to deliver aid as traumatized children search for parents

“Leaked” TTIP document breaks post 8th negotiations round silence and opens door to critics

Dignified health for all who live here

Pharmaceuticals spend millions to push TTIP while consumer groups spend peanuts

Not faith, ‘but those who manipulate the faithful’ driving wedge between religions, UN-backed forum in Baku told

Reforms in the Western Balkans and Turkey: annual assessments and recommendations

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