According to a recent study by the Football Observatory, the Swiss Premier League is one of the leagues where young players have the most playing time. Explanation.
The praise, already plentiful for him, suddenly intensified. Author of a hat-trick against Servette last Sunday, Zeki Amdouni (21) splashed the Lake Geneva derby with his talent. This seems undeniable today, but would the Lausanne-Sport striker have exploited it just as well outside our borders? The question deserves to be asked, because the Super League is proving to be particularly fertile ground for young people.
This is what emerges from a recent study by the Football Observatory (CIES), which ranks 60 leagues around the world according to the percentage of minutes played since January 1, 2021 by players under the age of 21. The Swiss top division is in 5th place (11.8%), behind the Venezuelan Primera División (18.8%), the Danish Superliga (16.5%), the Austrian Bundesliga (13.3%) and the Super Liga Serbian (12%). In addition, it has the 9th youngest average age among the competitions studied, with 26.1 years.
These two statistics do not illustrate an isolated situation. They reflect a trend forged by an addition of factors. The first is economic. If the Super League clubs offer so much visibility to their young people, it is first of all out of necessity. “We cannot compete financially with the majority of European leagues, so we have to rely on training and post-training”, explains Marc Hottiger, responsible for the promotion of the next generation at the ASF.
This reality continues to grow. The paradigm of modern football pushes towards an ever greater convergence of stars and big budgets towards a minority of clubs. The financial gap with the others has widened so much that an intermediate category has formed, where the challenge is to unearth unknown talents, develop them and make a good switch to resale.
As competition becomes denser in this field, recruiters are increasingly expanding their recruitment radius and this is where the Swiss championship comes in, which has become a popular hunting ground. As proof, a CIES report published last month indicates that since July 2017, Switzerland has had a surplus balance of 216 million euros in terms of transfers, the 10th best balance sheet over the period among the 40 most active countries of the point. view of the volume of transactions. “In essence, the Super League is a training league,” summarizes Marc Hottiger.
However, the economic imperative is not enough to explain this youthism. Coaches wouldn’t trust inexperienced players so much if they didn’t have the required level. This success is largely that of the Swiss team. Passed by Germany, Austria and France, three references in this field, Peter Zeidler considers it “very good”. “Here, the players have solid technical and tactical bases”, remarks the coach of Saint-Gall who, since his arrival on the bench in the summer of 2018, systematically leads the youngest team in the elite (23 years old). average this season). “I also notice that they have an ability to be disciplined and attentive during training,” he continues. It is a great quality.”
Swiss football is reaping the rewards of the excellent work carried out by Hansruedi Hasler, technical director of the ASF from 1995 to 2009, particularly around the detection system. “We can’t afford to miss a player,” thunders Marc Hottiger. It did not escape the “Monsieur formation” of the Federation that during the last gathering of the U21s, in March on the occasion of the qualifications for Euro 2023, 10 of the 11 holders aligned against Wales then the Netherlands Bas evolve in the Super League and in a starting role for almost all.
In view of the current dynamic, everything indicates that the youth is led to continue its seizure of power. Head of training at Young Boys, Gérard Castella agrees: “The move to 5 changes gives even more possibilities. The Covid period has not only had negative effects. With generalized in camera, it also allowed some to express themselves more easily. Marc Hottiger strongly hopes so. “The figures established by the CIES surprise me pleasantly but we should not be satisfied with them, he says. We can be even more demanding and precise. We cannot afford to regress.”
The survival of our football depends on it.