The article below grabbed my attention as I have recently been in a two month battle to release our 13 year old from a Football Club academy here in Spain and then reading yesterday news of Everton and Nottingham Forest being charged with breaching Premier League Profitability and Sustainability Rules.
Perhaps not enough spent on developing their own academies, rather opting for the fast-track route of buying over-priced players and ultimately paying the price for it ?
The pressure to produce the best talent at professional and amateur academies can make it a tough environment for many kids. The excellent book written by Michael Calvin highlights the probabilities of making it through the youth academy in UK to the Premier League as being 0.0012 %,. As he says, “the sort of chance of getting hit by a meteorite on the way home..”
On the flip-side, the following article highlights some of the eye-watering figures Clubs have generated through their youth academies over the last 10 years.
Article prepared by The Cies Football Observatory is a research group created in 2005 within the Centre International d’Étude du Sport (Cies), based in Switzerland. Cies specialise in the statistical analysis of football, particularly in the areas of demographics, transfer values and performance.
The most profitable youth academies in football over the last ten years …
According to the Football Observatory Weekly Post report prepared by Cies, the Portuguese Club team Benfica have generated 516 million euros in revenue, in the last ten years, through the sale of players from its academy.
According to the Football Observatory Weekly Post report prepared by Cies, in the last ten years, the youth academies of the hundred largest football clubs have generated aggregate revenues of 13,819 million euros.
SL Benfica has entered during the last ten seasons, through the sale of players who spent at least three seasons in its youth academy between the ages of 15 and 21, up to 516 million euros, occupying the first position in the ranking. This income has been generated as a result of the sale of thirty footballers.
The Portuguese club’s golden period was between 2019 and 2023, when it generated 335 million euros through its academy, which represents 65% of the total academy revenue from the last ten years.
The Lisbon team is followed by AFC Ajax, with revenues of 376 million euros, and Olympique Lyonnais, with a turnover of 370 million euros. While the Dutch side have sold 36 home grown players in the last ten seasons, the French side have sold 32 players.
The top Spanish club in the ranking is Real Madrid CF, which occupies the fourth overall position, with revenues of 364 million euros between 2013 and 2023. The Whites sold 28 homegrown players during this period and, like SL Benfica, their best period was between 2019 and 2023, when La Fábrica (The factory) generated 203 million euros in revenue.
Despite the Premier League’s dominance over the rest of the European leagues, the first English team in the standings is Chelsea FC, in fifth place. The Blues have had a turnover of 347 million euros over the last ten years. The most talked-about sale in recent years has been that of Mason Mount, who left for Manchester United FC during the last summer transfer window for 64.2 million euros.
For its part, FC Barcelona is positioned as the twenty-second club in the Cíes ranking, with 189 million euros. Since 2013, the Blaugrana club has sold 28 players from La Masia. Between 2014 and 2018, FC Barcelona generated €105 million, with the sales of Pedro to Chelsea FC and Adama Traoré to Aston Villa, among others.
European clubs monopolise the classification, however, several South American teams have sneaked into the ranking, such as CR Flamengo, in thirteenth position, with income of 228 million euros, followed by Club Atlético River Plate, with revenues of 223 million euros; SE Palmeiras, with €171 million; Santos FC, with almost 170 million euros, and Sao Paulo FC, with 159 million euros, among others.