How Many Soccer Teams Are There In The World? (2024)

How Many Soccer Teams Are There In The World

Football is a sport with an overwhelming global appeal that continues to grow with an ever-expanding audience.

Referred to as soccer in the United States and some other parts of the world, the round-leather game is a global sport loved by all and sundry.

Estimates suggest that there are over 240 million registered players worldwide with billions of fans.

Almost every country in the world has some form of soccer pyramid (divisions/tiers) consisting of both professional and amateur teams.

The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), founded in 1904, serves as the international governing body of soccer and is composed of both men’s and women’s clubs from around the globe.

FIFA is currently made up of 211 member associations. These national associations must each also be members of one of the 6 regional confederations into which the world is divided; they are:

  • CAF (Africa, 56 members)
  • AFC (Asia and Australia, 47 members)
  • UEFA (Europe, 55 members)
  • CONCACAF (North & Central America and the Caribbean, 41 members)
  • OFC (Oceania, 13 members)
  • CONMEBOL (South America, 10 members).

So exactly, how many soccer teams are in the world?

With new clubs being formed regularly, it is virtually impossible to verify and keep track of their exact numbers at specific moments in time.

Furthermore, there are clubs that will fold up due to reasons like overwhelming amounts of financial debt and bankruptcy.

91% of FIFA member associations have implemented a national club licensing system.

65% of top-tier national competitions are organized by the respective football association.

While there are millions of soccer teams in the world, just over 3,986 professional clubs have been officially identified by FIFA. This is according to data from Statista.

So the remaining teams can simply be referred to as amateur clubs.

Also, FIFA currently officially recognizes about 130,000 professional soccer players in the world. You can find out the countries with the most soccer players in the world.

The aforementioned numbers have risen quite significantly from 2017 when FIFA reported a total of 1,598 football clubs involved within 168 leagues throughout the world.

How accurate is the number of officially recognized soccer teams?

It is quite easy for FIFA to officially the number of professional teams on the planet.

The reason for this is that every professional club in existence has to register with its respective country’s governing body (for example, in England, it is known as the Football Association – FA).

Subsequently, the member associations then pass on these statistics to the global governing body (FIFA).

Which country has the most soccer clubs?

All countries have a sort of soccer pyramid. Some of the teams are professionals, while others are amateurs.

Mexico currently has the highest number of professional football teams, with 266 professional clubs registered with the Mexican FA.

That is more than double the number of clubs compared to the next nation Brazil, which has 130 clubs registered.

Due to the popularity of its leagues, one might think that England has the highest number of professional teams; but it is ranked 4th, with 111 teams.

Top 10 countries with the most professional soccer clubs in the world (2024)

1. Mexico (244)
2. Turkey (136)
3. Argentine (118)
4. Thailand (110)
5. Saudi Arabia (108)
6. England (102)
7. France (96)
8. Spain (94)
9. Brazil (92)
10. South Africa (90).

Top 10 Countries With Most Registered Football Clubs, 2024

Registered With FIFA Through National Association
CountriesRegistered Clubs
South Africa51,944
Russia43,700
UK42,000
Germany26,760
France21,629
Italy20,961
Uzbekistan15,000
Japan13,047
Brazil12,987
Spain10,240

Facts about football transfers

There were 20,209 international transfers in men’s professional football in 2022, representing an increase of 11.6% compared to 2021 and even exceeding the levels of 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The top 10 player transfers alone generated 12.5% of the entire amount that was spent on transfer fees in 2022.

Similarly, of the 2,843 transfers that included fees, the top 100 were responsible for almost 50% of all money spent on transfer fees, with English clubs once again topping the list.

For the first time, the total outlay of English clubs exceeded $2 billion and reached a record high of almost $2.2 billion.

With total receipts of $740.3 million, clubs from France received the biggest share of transfer fees among all the associations.

For the first time ever, Portuguese clubs completed more incoming transfers than clubs from any other association, with a total of 901 incoming transfers in 2022.

Brazil, on the other hand, released the highest number of players, with a total of 998 outgoing transfers.

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