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.

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

How much time has the ‘European Union of last chance’ left?

EU prepares for the worst case scenario as Turkey seems to be withdrawing from the migration deal

UN human rights ruling could boost climate change asylum claims

Costa Rica has doubled its tropical rainforests in just a few decades. Here’s how

Here’s how we need to change global supply chains after COVID-19

High anxiety calls for innovation in digital mental health

5 ways to integrate Syrian refugees into the workforce

How telehealth can get healthcare to more people

The future of international election observation missions

Why cybersecurity matters more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic

DR Congo elections: ‘Excessive use of force’ in campaign must be avoided, says Bachelet

How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions

The EU Commission does nothing about the food retailing oligopoly

Why a coronavirus vaccine takes over a year to produce – and why that is incredibly fast

Humanitarian aid convoy to Syria’s Rukban camp: Mission Accomplished

The Oslo model: how to prepare your city for the electric-vehicle surge

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

Have central banks missed the exit train?

This is how the world can get routine vaccinations back on track

China is now heavily endorsing its big investment flow in the Central Eastern European (CEE) countries

Pollution could be harming every part of your body. Here’s how

You’ve heard of 5G, but what about the quantum internet?

How do we build a #sustainableworld?

The Japanese idea of ‘chowa’ – and how Asia can thrive in the future

Good Governance in developing modern quality infrastructure systems

COVID-19 and nature are linked. So should be the recovery.

How people without running water can wash their hands

Sexual exploitation and abuse: latest UN quarterly update

Mexico: UN chief saddened by pipeline blast in which dozens were killed

France is about to start giving free breakfasts to disadvantaged schoolchildren

JADE Spring Meeting 2017– day 1: Excellence awards, panel discussion, keynote speeches

Why developing new antibiotics is a matter of life and death

Would you want to live to 150? Top quotes on what it means to grow old

Germany is the world’s most innovative economy

Chinese “BeiDou” GPS goes to market

DR Congo: Ebola outbreak spreads to eastern ‘no-go’ zone surrounded by rebels

Electronic cigarettes, a better alternative or a well-advertised product

MFF: Commission’s plan “impossible to implement” with Finnish proposal

New General Assembly President brings ‘valuable insights’ into key UN challenges

5 technologies that will forever change global trade

3 leadership lessons from the age of coronavirus

The Changing Scope of International Economic Relations – Chinese Leadership in the 21st Century

ILO discusses world of work response to global refugee crisis

Main results of European Council of 18/10/2018

More Germans are swapping planes for trains because of climate worries

Japan must urgently address long-standing concerns over foreign bribery enforcement

What does strategy have to do with a platform approach?

Czech PM should resolve his conflict of interest as a matter of urgency say MEPs

Eurozone: Retail sales betray economic frailty

IMF: Sorry Greece, Ireland, Portugal we were wrong!

The European Parliament x-rays the troika’s doings

A Young entrepreneur cries out: “start in Europe, stay in Europe”

Is Universal Health Coverage really available for all in the European Union?

Reality Shock

The JADE Spring Meeting is about to begin

From his room with a view, UN chief takes to Instagram with an eye on hope and a brighter future

G20 LIVE: Fact Sheet from the G20 Leaders Summit and key outcomes (G20 Antalya 2015 Summary)

An all-out fight for the EU budget

Myanmar: Conflict resolution at ‘total standstill’, military commanders must answer for crimes against humanity

LUX prize will be awarded jointly by the European Parliament and the European Film Academy

More Stings?

Advertising

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