Constantly improving, FIFA's Transfer Matching System (TMS) continues to provide an ever clearer picture of the frenetic activity that takes place during each transfer window.

Information regarding the international transfers facilitated by FIFA TMS in the first half of 2012 has now been released in a Biannual Report, and the document sheds valuable light on player movements in the first six months of the year, while also enabling comparisons with the same period in 2011.

The report is based solely on the details of each individual transaction entered directly into the TMS by professional clubs between 1 January and 30 June 2012, and concerns the international transfers of male association football players.

Perhaps the most notable statistic to emerge from the report is that nine per cent fewer international transfers were completed in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2011.

A total of 4,973 player moves were recorded, with 72 per cent of those deals concerning players out of contract at the moment of their transfer. There was also a three per cent drop in terms of transfers arising out of agreements between clubs, 55 per cent coming in the form of a permanent deal or a loan with financial compensation.

Russia spending big, Brazil counting gains
Those were by no means the only indicators that transfer activity is down this year, with the transaction of USD 576m – 86 per cent of which was spent on fixed transfer fees – recorded in the TMS.

That represented a decrease of USD 294m or 34 per cent compared to the same period in 2011, and the overriding factor behind that drop is surely the international recession and the impact it has had on professional clubs. In addition, wealth is now overwhelmingly concentrated among a select few national associations, while UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations are prompting sides to act more prudently in the market.

Player movement nonetheless remains a global phenomenon, as no fewer than 157 of FIFA's 209 member associations were involved in one or more international transfers during the first half of the year. Of those, Brazil was the most active, with 700 players either entering or leaving the country, putting it far ahead of second-placed England on 326.

In terms of the sums paid, no association spent more than Russia, where clubs laid out a total of USD 64.4m, though Portuguese teams invested more per deal, spending an average of USD 3.4m on each move involving a fee.

With a combined outlay of USD 57.4m, France was third on the overall list behind Russia and Brazil and ahead of England, Spain and China PR – despite Paris Saint-Germain's most recent high-profile deals coming after the six-month cut-off point. Brazilian sides received the most money from transfer fees, meanwhile, adding USD 64.9m to their coffers.

To read the report in full, click the link in the column on the right.