Soccer (football)

Sports and the City – which European cities have the most football teams?

Football is definitely the most popular sport in Europe, both when it comes to the number of fans and participants. So, which European cities host the highest numbers of professional football clubs competing at the top level and below? Let’s find out with STATSCORE!

Which cities are home to the highest number of football clubs?

In the realm of European sports, nothing can beat football (soccer) in terms of popularity, participation and fan engagement. The emotions, dreams, and expectations all mix together to create a matchless experience for the sport’s supporters.

The game is immensely popular everywhere from Lisbon to Moscow. Still, on this football-obsessed continent, there are a few metropolises that stand out when it comes to the number of teams they host.

1. London – 6 clubs in the Premier League

  • 12 teams within the four top tiers of football, including 6 clubs in the Premier League.
  • 29 clubs between level five and eight.

The relationship between London and football goes far back into the history of the game. In fact, various references to the game can be found long before the modern rules of the game were officially established by the Football Association, which is the oldest football organisation around the globe. Today the city is home to some of the most fiercely contested derby matches in the world! 

As of the 2020-21 season of English football, there are 12 London-based professional teams participating in the top four tiers of the English league system, and 29 clubs that currently represent the city on tiers from five to eight.

Six London-based clubs currently compete in the Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur, and West Ham United. Six more teams compete within the top four divisions: Brentford, Millwall, Queens Park Rangers, AFC Wimbledon, Charlton Athletic, Leyton Orient.

The most successful football clubs from London are Arsenal (13 English championships), Chelsea (6 English championships and 1 Champions League title), and Tottenham (2 English championships).

2. Istanbul – 5 clubs in the Süper Lig

  • 5 clubs in the country’s top-flight Süper Lig.
  • 3 teams on the second level of football competition, and 5 on the third level.
  • In 64 seasons, the championship was won by Instabul-based clubs 57 times!

Yes, we know, not all of Istanbul is technically in Europe. To be precise, let’s note that the city is a transcontinental metropolis straddling the Bosporus strait, which separates Europe and Asia. When it comes to football, however, Turkey and its clubs all belong to the European football family (UEFA).

On both sides of the strait, there are, of course, some amazing football clubs. Honestly, there’s quite a lot of them…

Süper Lig, the country’s top flight of football is currently contested by eighteen Turkish clubs, of which 5 are based within the city. These are Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray, Başakşehir FK, and Kasımpaşa.

It is worth mentioning that throughout the history of the Turkish football, Istanbul-based teams won almost all the championship titles. In fact, the title went to Istanbul on 57 occasions, while to other cities… just 7 times.

The city is also represented by many clubs in the lower divisions of the Turkish football system. In the TFF First League (second level of competition), there are currently three Istanbul-based clubs: Tuzlaspor, Ümraniyespor, and İstanbulspor. In the third tier, there are five more clubs from the city: Sancaktepe, Kocaelispor, Sarıyer, Pendikspor, Eyüpspor.

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3. Athens – 5 clubs in the Super League 1

  • 5 clubs [including Olympiacos Pireus] based within the Athens urban area participate in the country’s top competition,
  • 76 out of 83 championships won by Athens-based teams.

Greek football has been dominated by teams from the country’s capital, and more specifically, by the so-called Big Three: AEK Athens F.C., Olympiacos F.C. and Panathinaikos F.C. Combined they won a total of 76 out of 83 Greek Football Championships.

The following 5 teams from Athens are currently competing on the highest level of the sport in Greece (Super League): AEK, Panathinaikos, Apollon Smyrnis, Atromitos, and Olympiacos, which is based in the port city of Piraeus within the Athens urban area.

In the second tier, which is called the Super League 2, there is currently one club from Athens – Ionikos F.C.

Three more teams from Athens urban area are currently playing in the third tier of the system (Football League Greece). These are Egaleo, Kallithea, and Enosis Aspropyrgos.

4. Moscow – 4 clubs in the Russian Premier League

  • 4 clubs contesting the country’s top-flight,
  • 8 teams within two lower tiers.

With its 12 million people, Moscow is the most populous city that lies entirely within Europe. The city is home to 63 sports stadiums and hosts numerous teams and clubs across tens of disciplines.

The capital of Russia currently has four teams contesting the country’s top football division. These are CSKA Moscow, Lokomotiv Moscow, Spartak Moscow, and Dynamo Moscow.

Four more teams, Torpedo, Chertanovo, Spartak-2, and Veles, currently play in the Russian Football National League, which is the second tier of the Russian football pyramid. And then there are four more at the third level of the system (Russian Professional Football League): Dynamo-2, Strogino, Kazanka, and Rodina.

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5. Madrid – 3 clubs in La Liga

  • 3 clubs from Madrid area currently play in La Liga, and 4 in Segunda División.
  • Real Madrid is the most decorated European football club.

Every football fan around the world knows about Real Madrid and Atletico, which are some of the world’s most successful teams. However, the city hosts many more professional football clubs.

Currently, there are three Community of Madrid-based teams competing in La Liga: Real, Atletico, and Getafe.

Then there are four clubs from the area competing in the Segunda División (second tier): Leganés, Rayo Vallecano, Alcorcón, and Fuenlabrada.

In the third tier, Segunda División B, there are 8 more teams from the Madrid area: Atlético Madrid B, Getafe B, Internacional, Las Rozas, Navalcarnero, Rayo Majadahonda, Real Madrid Castilla, San Sebastián de los Reyes.

6. Lisbon – 3 clubs in the Primeira Liga

  • 3 clubs from Lisbon are currently competing in the country’s top league.
  • In the Liga Portugal 2 (second tier of football in Portugal) there are currently 6 teams hailing from the Lisbon Metropolitan Area.

The three Lisbon-based clubs in the Primeira Liga are Benfica Lisboa, Sporting CP, and Belenenses SAD. 56 out of 86 championships in the history of the league went to one of these three Lisbon-based clubs.

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There are six teams from Lisbon Metropolitan Area currently competing on the second tier of football in Portugal: Benfica B, Casa Pia, C. Piedade, Vilafranquense, Mafra, and Estoril.

7. Prague – 3 clubs in the Czech First League

  • 3 clubs from Prague are currently competing in the country’s top league.
  • In the four top tiers, there are fourteen teams from the city.

Sparta Prague, Slavia Prague, and Bohemians 1905 are the three clubs from the Czech capital currently competing in the top-level of football in the country.

Another three teams play in the Czech National Football League (second tier): Dukla Prague, FC Slavoj Vyšehrad, and Viktoria Žižkov.

The clubs on the lower levels of competitions include: Bohemians Prague, Loko Vltavín, Meteor Prague, Artima Prague, Zličín, Horní Měcholupy, Motorlet Prague.

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