Narek Sahakyan, Michael W Nicholson and David Kritzberg
This paper investigates potential links between the international and club-levelsoccer using a measure of quality defined by the performance of its club teams in international competitions. We address inherent endogeneity by employing an instrumental variables approach, based on the urban population share of a country. Our identifying strategyassumes that the support for soccer clubs in metropolitan areas that drivesclub-level successaffects national teams only through their impact on domestic professional players; being born a great athlete to a particularnationality still remains to chance. Using annual panel data from 1993 to 2010 for all FIFA countries, we isolate the impact of domestic club strength on national teams and demonstrate a positiveimpact on national team results. The converse should also hold, and our results thus suggest that the long decline of Brazilian club soccer played a salient role in the results for the 2014 World Cup host.