The amount spent on player transfers in international football fell 23.4% last year, as the impact of the COVID pandemic was felt throughout the game.
Figures released by FIFA showed that total spending across the global game was $ 5.63 billion (USD), down from $ 7.35 billion in 2019.
The total was the lowest amount spent on players since 2016, when $ 4.6 billion exchanged hands on business.
Most of the spending on transfers comes from European clubs and most faced a game stoppage after blocking restrictions were imposed in March.
English clubs topped the charts with $ 1.627 billion invested, Italy came in second with $ 731.5 million, with Spain, Germany and France following. The largest expenditures by non-European nations were Brazil and the United States.
The club that spent the most in Europe in 2020 was Chelsea, followed by Manchester United, Manchester City, Barcelona and Juventus.
Spain was at the top of the revenue generated from transfers (US $ 785.7 million).
The number of global businesses worldwide, including free loans and transfers, has also dropped, for the first time in a decade.
A total of 17,077 deals took place in 2020, down from 18,047 in 2019, although the number was still higher than in 2016.
The number of large cash deals is a small part of the general market – in terms of international transfers with transfer fees, the majority (55.7%) involved fees of less than $ 500,000.
Those with fees over $ 5 million represented about 10% of those with transfer fees or 1.3% of total transfers.
Although spending on female football players remains a small fraction of spending on men’s football, FIFA figures showed that growth in activity continued despite the pandemic.
The clubs completed 1,035 deals, an increase of 23.7% over previous years.
The majority of businesses in women’s football continue to feature players without a contract and without changing money (87.6%).