UEFA has released a brand-new interactive report offering unique insight into training facilities and youth investment in Europe. With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic casting an uncertain future over football finances, high quality youth development and infrastructure investment to support player development is arguably more important than ever.
The UEFA Training Facility and Youth Investment Landscape presents a comprehensive overview of 950 training facilities used by 673 clubs across European football, with information gathered by UEFA’s Intelligence Centre over the past year.
Additionally, there is insight into youth player development and youth investment by top division clubs, partly financed by UEFA via club solidarity payments, as well as a country by country overview giving localised learnings for clubs, media and supporters alike.
– Total estimated annual youth development budget of European top division clubs in 2020 is €870m.
– The total solidarity payments distributed to non-UEFA competition participants for youth development in the last decade exceeds €1 billion and on an annual basis has more than tripled in the last 10 years, from €43m in 2008/09 to €139m in 2018/19.
– 1,629 different clubs have received funds from UEFA solidarity funds in the last decade.
– 53 top tier clubs (in 33 different countries) have inaugurated new training centres in the last two years with at least a further 27 currently in development.
– Investment by European top division clubs in training facilities over the last five years was more than €1 billion.
– 76% of the clubs with a women’s team use the same facility as the men’s team.
One of UEFA’s key roles as European football’s governing body is to help raise standards on and off the pitch.
Training facilities and youth academies represent the very core of the European football ecosystem – even more so in the light of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it is having on football institutions. With the integration of more developed training infrastructure requirements in the 2018 Club Licensing & Fair Play Regulations, the importance of these two components has been further emphasised.
This report presents a first overview of the picture across Europe, where specific needs and resources vary between national associations, following the introduction of the updated licensing requirements.
Solidarity funding for youth development
UEFA’s solidarity payments, made to clubs not competing in UEFA club competitions, represent the second-largest funding source for training centres and youth development.
Payments are distributed for investment in youth development programmes and local community schemes, making up an estimated 19% of youth development budgets across Europe’s top division clubs.
Top division clubs across Europe currently invest a total €870 million a year in youth development. The top 10 countries by average club budget are:
England €6.1 million
Germany €5.3 million
France €4.7 million
Italy €4.6 million
Spain €3.4 million
Russia €2.8 million
Switzerland €2.7 million
Netherlands €1.9 million
Portugal €1.8 million
Belgium €1.7 million
Variation across the landscape
The report highlights the way in which this funding is spent differs between associations.
For example, due to climate, clubs in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia have a tendency to utilise artificial/hybrid pitches at their training ground, while Danish clubs possess on average the highest number of training pitches – attributable to the fact that all top-level clubs in Denmark have direct links between their grassroots sections and their senior teams.
While the investment in training facilities varies between clubs, the average club amount dedicated in the last five years in Germany, Hungary, Spain and Switzerland stands at more than €5 million. This demonstrates clubs’ commitment to long-term development and sustainability in their operating strategy.
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, and Scotland, 100% of top division clubs have upgraded their facilities in the last decade.
More insights, stats and data are available to view now in The UEFA Training Facility and Youth Investment Landscape.
– UEFA will also soon publish the UEFA Best Practice Guide to Training Centre Construction and Management, which provides a step-by-step guide to designing, building and operating a new facility.