Academic journal article The Sport Journal

Important Parameters of the Football Industry in Cyprus: Challenges and Opportunities

Academic journal article The Sport Journal

Important Parameters of the Football Industry in Cyprus: Challenges and Opportunities

Article excerpt

Introduction

There is no doubt that football is the most popular sport worldwide. It is the king of sports. Because of the popularity of football all over the world on all continents, it is no surprise that on many occasions people address football as the "universal language." According to Murphy, Williams, and Dunning (1992) "Soccer is, without any shadow of doubt, the world's most popular sport."

The hero of Liverpool FC, the late Bill Shankly, who managed to turn Liverpool Football Club into a big European football power, emphasized that football is a "more important matter than life or death." It is true that "there appears to be something about the structure of soccer that gives it a very wide appeal in the modern world, an appeal that appears to be relatively independent to the level of development of countries, the socio-political character of the regimes by which they are ruled, their allegiances and the alliances that they are involved in" (Murphy, Williams, Dunning, 1992).

The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the world governing body of football, commissioned the social research company in Zurich, Lamprecht and Stamm SE BAG, to conduct the FIFA Big Count 2006. A survey that was conducted through the 207 national football associations worldwide, in which data was gathered on the numbers of participating players in football at all levels. The results of the survey are impressive indicating how big football is worldwide. The president of FIFA, Joseph S. Blatter, in view of the published results of the survey stated, "Football's popularity remains undiminished and is actually increasing."

Some of the impressive findings of the 2006 survey as presented in a press release by FIFA on June 12, 2007, indicated the following:

* The overall number of 265 million male and female players is almost 10 percent higher than the number recorded six years ago (242 million). Of the 265 million, 26 million, or around 10 percent, are women.

* Since 2000, the number of registered male and female footballers has increased by around 23 percent to over 38 million.

* The growth in women's football is particularly striking, with the number of registered players up 54 percent to 4.1 million, while the number of registered players in the men's game has likewise seen an increase of 21 percent to 34.2 million.

* The number of unregistered occasional players, which was first recorded in the previous Big Count study, is up seven percent to 226 million.

* There are now a combined total of over one million futsal and beach soccer players (both male and female).

* The number of clubs (301,000) is similar to the figure recorded in 2000. That said, the total number of teams (1.7 million) has increased by approximately 200,000.

The FIFA president further noted, "If you count the relatives and close friends of active participants in football, who share in their passion for the game as fans and support them in other ways, the total number is even more impressive: Well over a billion people worldwide are involved in football at all levels of society and across all borders." Based on the figures provided, FIFA stated that a grand total of 270 million people, male and female players, which represents four percent of the world's population, are involved in one way or another in football. According to the FIFA press release, it is not only the television audiences and match attendances that are increasing but the number of people playing football on all continents. It is not only popular as a spectator sport but as a participant sport as well. It is worth noting that based on FIFA records, out of these 270 million people, 99.8% are amateur football players with 80% being youth players.

With all those figures available, the FIFA president is happy to state, "Football is truly the world's game. It is played in every conceivable place, on every corner of the world by men, women, boys, and girls of all ages. …

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