Switzerland’s unique position on the European football scene makes it a springboard for players to reach the big five. Since the early 2000s, Swiss football has evolved and reached new levels, as Switzerland has become a strong football nation, while the 2010s have seen league players promoted to top European clubs. These periods, from a macroeconomic point of view, will allow us to understand how the labour market works and how league regulations operate according to the stakes and the economic models of the clubs. In terms of the free movement of players, but also in terms of their strategy of selling and buying players.

We examine the economic models from a meso-economic point of view at club level and from a microeconomic point of view with regard to player transfers. To do so, we identify four important phases in Swiss football from the mid-1990s to the present. We carry out a longitudinal analysis in order to understand how the regulation and the tools put in place by the different actors took place. At the same time, we take into account the transfer and home-grown player rules operated by the league, especially since the mid-1990s, which have evolved and the consequences they have on Swiss football and foreign players. Indeed, Swiss professional football has put in place rules to protect its training and young talents, destined to join the national team. The league protects its national identity and the training of its players, while the clubs rely on foreign players to strengthen themselves. Finally, the recent poor results of Swiss clubs in Europe have caused Switzerland to fall back in the UEFA rankings. This has had an impact on the championship, for the qualifying places, but also for the clubs’ finances. Added to this, the Brexit, which impacts Switzerland and its already established agreements with Europe and on the transfer market. The Swiss case and its evolution over 20 years allow us to understand how a country outside the European Union, but working closely with EU countries, has been able to establish specific regulatory arrangements and to analyse their effects.