Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

The UEFA coefficient rankings could see Scotland lose a Champions League spot and Premier League clubs gain an extra slot… but how?

How Scotland could lose CL place

Scotland could lose automatic qualification to the Champions League group stages for the 2025/26 campaign due to a poor return in UEFA’s coefficient rankings.

Additionally, the Scots could see their Champions League allocation reduced to one spot for the 2026/27 campaign onwards.

The coefficient formula factors each association’s performances in the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League over the past five seasons – including the current campaign.

The final season rankings always apply to competition allocations for the season after next, so the final coefficient rankings this term will determine allocations for the competitions to start in 2025/26.

Coefficient points

Standard points for CL, EL & ECL
Win: 2pts
Draw: 1pt
*Points are halved in qualifying rounds
Bonus points
Champions League
Group stage participation: 4pts
R16: 5pts
QF,SF & final: 1pt
Europa League
Group winners: 4pts
Group runners-up: 2pts
R16, QF,SF & final: 1pt
Europa Conference League
Group winners: 2pts
Group runners-up: 1pt
SF & final: 1pt
The number of points awarded each season is divided by the number of teams that participated for that association in that season and rounded to three decimal places.

This season, Celtic have been knocked out of the Champions League and Aberdeen eliminated from the Europa Conference League, while Hearts and Hibernian lost out in their qualifiers. However, Rangers have topped Group C in the Europa League and are the country’s only hope of gathering more valuable points this term.

Liechtenstein

Rankings exclude Liechtenstein, who are awarded only one ECL place (winners of the Liechtenstein Cup) because the country does not organise a national league competition and all its seven clubs compete in the Swiss league system. As a result, teams ranked below Liechtenstein would rise one place in these allocation rankings.

As it stands, Scottish sides have collected 6.2 points coefficient points this season – which ranks as their second-worst return over the five-year period. Scotland currently rank 10th in the rankings, but the margins are tight.

The Czech Republic still have three teams active across UEFA competitions this season and sit merely 1.3 points behind Scotland, meaning there is every chance the Czechs could leapfrog the Scots into 10th.

Example

For example, Rangers, Celtic and Aberdeen earned Scotland 2.2 points this week.
3x wins = 6 pts
Rangers top EL group = 4pts
Rangers to R16: 1 pts
Total: (11pts divided by five teams starting across competitions) 2.2 pts

It gets a lot tougher next season

The Scots are currently propped up by their impressive 2019/20 results – which generated 9.75 points after the Old Firm progressed into the Europa League knockout stages. However, that season will be wiped from the equation at the end of this campaign.

Excluding the 2019/20 tallies, Scotland would sit 14th in the rankings, which emphasises how the pressure to retain the second Champions League spot is likely to ramp up next season.

Therefore, Scotland will be hoping Rangers progress in the Europa League knockouts this term – to outscore countries in their wake, such as Austria, Switzerland, Poland and Greece.

CL group stages

Only countries ranking 1-10 gain automatic entry to the CL group stages .

If Scotland were to drop into 16th in the rankings or lower, only one Scottish club would be able to take part in the Champions League for the 2026/27 campaign – entering at the second qualifying round (instead of an automatic group stage spot and qualifying spot).

One Scottish side would qualify for the Europa League – entering at the first qualifying round (currently one team enters the playoff and another the second qualifying round).

Two Scottish teams would qualify for the Europa Conference League – both entering at the second qualifying round.

How England could gain a CL place for start of next season

The Champions League is set for an overhaul, with this season’s competition being the last of its kind. From the start of next season, the traditional 32 teams in eight groups of four is set to change to the ‘Swiss model’: one league with 36 teams.

As a result, four additional Champions League spots will be up for grabs this season, with two of those slots going to the top-two associations in the current 2023/24 coefficient rankings – currently Germany and Italy, but England and Spain are only a whisker behind.

Active teams

Germany
CL: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund & RB Leipzig

EL: Bayer Leverkusen & Freiburg

ECL: Eintracht Frankfurt
Italy
CL: Inter Milan, Lazio & Napoli

EL: AC Milan, Roma & Atalanta

ECL: Fiorentina
England
CL: Arsenal & Man City

EL: Brighton, Liverpool & West Ham

ECL: Aston Villa
Spain
CL: Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid & Real Sociedad

EL: Villarreal

ECL: Real Betis
Extra spots as it stands
Italy: Bologna (fifth place in Serie A)
Germany: Borussia Dortmund (fifth place in Bundesliga)

But there’s good news for Premier League clubs punching among the upper rungs, data providers Opta calculate England have a table-topping 77-per-cent chance of claiming a fifth Champions League place.

An additional spot will go to the team that finishes third in the league for the country ranked fifth in the five-year coefficient rankings, which, currently, would be awarded to the Netherlands’ AZ Alkmaar (third place in the Eredivisie).

The final extra slot will be awarded to the club with the highest five-year coefficient ranking in the qualifying path for champions, which is available to associations ranked 15-24, excluding Russia.

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