home      en Español   |   service centre   |   football family   |   women's football   |   competitions   |   site map   

FIFA Secretariat
    General Secretary
    FIFA House
    Executive committee

    FIFA World Cup"
    Women's football
    FIFA "A" Matches

    Status & Transfer
     of Football Players
    Lic. Players' Agents

    FIFA Referees
    Lic. Players' Agents
    Match Agents
    Player of the Year
    Site Map

Laws of the Game
    2001 Edition
    Questions & Answers

About FIFA
    Inside FIFA
    History of FIFA
    FIFA Marketing
    Fact Sheets
    FIFA Survey
    Fair Play
    History of the Game
    FIFA Statutes

Big Count
FIFA Survey: approximately 250 million footballers worldwide

Related Links:
  • Data Summary (pdf)
  • Players (pdf)
  • Other Categories (pdf)
  • Players/Other Categories (xls)
  • Final Report (pdf)
  • Circular Letter (pdf)
  • Questionnaire (pdf)
  • Other Languages:
    Deutsch, Franšais, Espa˝ol

Brazilian youths play a soccer match at a field near Rio de Janeiro's largest shantytown Rocinha.
Photo Gregg Newton, Reuters

Hackney Marshes to the East of London: Football pitches as far as the eye can see.
A wide-scale survey launched by FIFA last summer indicates that over 240 million people regularly play football around the world, along with almost five million referees, assistant referees and officials who are also directly involved in the game.

Apart from the revelation that there are over 240 million active footballers - one in every twenty-five of the world's population - a fact which on its own corroborates football's position as the number one sport in the world - there are several other salient facts:

  • in the Americas and in Europe the proportion of people who participate in football is substantially higher than in other parts of the world where are still huge resources of potential players;

  • without counting children and the occasional player, the records reveal that the following countries have the highest proportion of participants in the game: USA (well nigh 18 million), Indonesia (10 million), PR China (7.2 million), Mexico (7.4 million), Brazil (7 million) and Germany (6.3 million).

  • there are over 20 million women footballers, 80% of whom are juniors or still in their teens, which demonstrates that the growing popularity for women's football is not only the prerogative of North America.

  • football is played worldwide by more than 1.5 million teams and in 300,000 clubs; the majority of people, however, play outside of the officially organised sphere.

In what is colloquially known as the BIG COUNT survey, FIFA enquired among all 204 member national associations and almost 80% of them, including all the major associations, responded.

The results were attained, consolidated and completed by scientific statistical methods. Evaluations and information gleaned from other inquiries were integrated into the survey-. The complete results, as well as an English version of the original survey can be downloaded on the FIFA website www.fifa.com.

  Copyright © 1994-2002 FIFA. All rights reserved.
  Copyright © 1994-2002 En-Linea, Inc. All rights reserved.