Football is much more than a game. With globalization, the economic aspects are more than ever the main focus of clubs, which also implies that the influence of fans decreased. The fans are slowly turning into spectators instead of supporters. The role of fans in football can sometimes be even more important than just a symbolic part of a game.
With global fan bases more important to big clubs than ever before, Europe’s superpowers are all striving to rule the world. Which top club can truly claim world domination?
ESPN has crunched the numbers in order to ascertain which of Europe’s “elite” teams has the most supporters’ clubs around the world. The list is of those groups, at home and abroad, that are officially recognized and listed by their relevant club.
They have 83 groups scattered across 56 countries (64 if you include eight French overseas departments and territories separately). However, they only have one officially recognised club in France, so there are likely many more scattered around their home country.
Chelsea have a total 114 fan groups in 56 countries (or 57 if you count Hong Kong as a separate entity from China). Broken down, the Blues have 26 clubs in the UK and Ireland, 18 in Europe and 70 scattered across the rest of the world.
Nudging just ahead of their London rivals, the Gunners can claim to have 163 fan groups spread among 91 different countries based in cities as diverse as Baku, Rio de Janeiro, Athens, and Milton Keynes.