Data in play

There are 294 African and South-American players who arrived in Europe under the age of 18 playing in the main football competitions across the continent.

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Each one of these dots represents a child who was sold the dream of one day becoming a great football player. But the majority aren’t so lucky.

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Guinea-Bissau, Brazil, Senegal, Cameroon and Ivory Coast are the countries of origin of more than half of these players.

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In total there are 226 Africans and 68 South-Americans.

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Portugal is the country in Europe that has taken in the most African and South-American underage players.

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More than half come from former Portuguese colonies: Guinea-Bissau, Brazil, Cape Verde and Angola.

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The majority of these athletes play for the three big teams in Portuguese football.

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Minors in Europe 2014/2015

There are 49 African and 9 South-American minors playing for the main European clubs.

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The majority of minors playing football in Europe are from Guinea-Bissau.

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30 European clubs have players on their squads who are under 18 and originate from Africa and Latin America.

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At the end of 2014, the Portuguese Immigration and Border control (SEF) investigated 104 sports clubs and associations throughout the country and identified 508 foreign athletes, 203 of which were in the country illegally. Athletes illegally in the country were found in at least 25 clubs, reported the weekly Expresso in February 2015.

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Find out more about the data collection process.

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