The Euros Multicultural Championship

08 Jun 2016 / News

Almost 1 in 3 Euro 2016 players could play for other countries - is this the most diverse football tournament ever? Findings from showcase the importance of multiculturalism at a time when migration and the Brexit are top of the news agenda.

- 166 of the 552 players in Euro 2016 are eligible to play for more than one nation

- England has the 5th most multicultural team after Belgium, Albania, Switzerland and France

- Countries all over the world are represented from Guadeloupe and Indonesia, to Nigeria where Austrian midfielder David Alabas father is a Yoruban prince

- Up to seven Albanian players could have opted to play for Switzerland, which could be interesting when they meet on June 11.

Almost one third of the players in Euro 2016 have roots outside of their chosen home nation, according to research from online betting site NetBet.

Only European nations can take part, but a closer look at the origins of each player reveals just how diverse the tournament really is.

The Multicultural Championship, by online bookmaker NetBet, celebrates this by tracking the origins of all 552 players in the tournament and presenting them as an interactive trademap and league tables - see the link below.

166 players selected to represent their home nation can trace their heritage elsewhere, including England captain Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane, the man who the Three Lions will rely on heavily for goals.

Both could have played for the Republic of Ireland through grandparental and parental descent respectfully, while five players in Roy Hodgsons squad have close ties with Jamaica.

In total, 12 of the England squad have ancestry from beyond the nation, the fifth most diverse in the competition. Both the Welsh and Republic of Ireland fall just beneath this, with the latter benefitting from a FIFA ruling allowing players born from both Northern Ireland or the Republic eligible to represent either nation.

The host nation represents the most diverse squad however, with 65% of the French players having roots elsewhere, including eleven of those hailing from Africa.

Perhaps most interesting however are the Swiss and Albanian squads, both of whom have multiple players eligible for both. The pair go head-to-head on June 11 with Albania potentially fielding as many as six players with Swiss connections, including Taulant Xhaka the brother of Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka. It will be the first time in European Championship history that two brothers have faced off against each other and is reminiscent of the 2014 World Cup when Ghanaian Kevin Prince Boateng took on his brother Jerome, who represented Germany.

A representative from NetBet said: We're really proud of the map, to us it really helps show how the Euros, and international football as a whole, is an incredible tool which brings countries and cultures together time and time again. France 2016 will be an amazing show of diversity and celebration. We're thrilled to be involved.