By David Butler
On the 29th of June the Financial Times discussed how Algeria’s successes at the World Cup ironically highlighted the failure of African states to produce home-grown talent. The argument in the article is that former French colonies, in this case Algeria, are drafting players born and raised in France. It is suggested that these players have coaching, education and dietary advantages over home grown players.
For many years the Football association of Ireland was accused of ‘grabbing a granny’, registering players not born or raised in Ireland to play for our national side (probably not due to entirely similar reasons as Algeria).The latest accusations of a similar kind are being levelled at the U.S.A team that imported a range of German born talent for their squad that travelled to Brazil.
While there is evidence that exporting a state’s home grown talent to play domestic football abroad reaps successes internationally, to my knowledge, not much work has been done on the effects of diaspora by economists.
Below is the graph that shows the reversal of the Algerian fortunes from the 4 four World Cups they have qualified for as they begin to take advantage of recruiting players born in France.The data looks at the country of birth of players called up for the 1982 and 1986 World Cups and compares them to those called up for the 2010 and 2014 squads. The number of French born players has risen from 14% to 72% - this could have been due to a lack of access and information constraints in the 1980’s or changing demographic trends, yet is still a remarkable increase. The costs of this trend are borne by Algerian footballers who are now less likely to be selected for their national side.
As per my entry last week, this makes me wonder how globalisation is altering our traditional conception of international football and whether the rules need to be tightened to include residency requirements. Such a move however would likely impede states with smaller populations.
By David Butler
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