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Why is football data important?

Managers are provided with an increasing amount of data to analyse and ultimately to use to make decisions about players and performances

Why is football data important and how can it be used to explain and explore a number of key questions?

A number of factors can influence the make up of a club team or a national team. Football managers are provided with an increasing amount of data to analyse and ultimately to use to make decisions about players and performances.

Evidence comes in different formats and from different knowledge bases, for example it can be financial or physiological. Just one example might be the results of fitness tests which players have to pass before transfer deals are concluded.

This wealth of data is the reason that Alan Hansen comments that with so much money involved in some football leagues, a manager could buy a player for £20 million pounds without even seeing who is being bought.

How data helps

Evidence and data in football are helpful for some or all of the following reasons:

  • They allow us to make comparisons
  • They help us to make judgements
  • They provide answers
  • They identify trends
  • They help us to assess value for money
  • They are necessary for risk assessment and informed governance
  • They help to destroy myths about, for instance, an issue, a player and/or an idea

There are different forms of data and evidence, for example, historical, financial, geographical and scientific.

Big Five football leagues

It is impossible here to provide a profile of every footballing country or club that played in World Cups or Championships, but you can look at some of the data provided by the CIES Football Observatory and what it allows us to say about different football teams and countries.

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Football: More than a Game

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