In European football, the UEFA coefficients are statistics used for ranking and seeding teams in club and international competitions. Introduced in 1979, the coefficients are calculated by UEFA, who administer football within Europe.
For men's competitions (discussed in this article), three different sets of coefficients are calculated:
While not discussed in this article, coefficients are calculated in a similar fashion for women's competitions such as the UEFA Women's Euro and the UEFA Women's Champions League, as well as for youth tournaments such as the UEFA Euro U-21 tournament.
The UEFA national team coefficient is derived from the results of each European national football team, and is only calculated by UEFA every second year in November; defined as being the point of time when all UEFA nations have completed the qualification stage of the upcoming World Cup or European Championship tournament.
The purpose of calculating the coefficients is to compile an official UEFA rank, to be used as seeding criteria for the European nations, when drawing up qualification groups and the final tournament groups of the European Championship. Previously, up until 2006, the UEFA national team coefficient was also used for the seeded draw of World Cup qualification groups in Europe, while the draw for final tournament groups of the World Cup was always seeded on the basis of the official FIFA World Rankings. UEFA stopped using UEFA national team coefficients for the seeding of World Cup qualification groups at the request of FIFA to only use the official FIFA ranking for all seeded draws related to the World Cup tournament.
It was first introduced in 2003 and used for seeding the 2004 European Final tournament and 2006 World Cup qualification. Until the end of the Euro 2008 tournament, the UEFA national team coefficient was calculated by dividing the number of all points scored (three points for a win, one for a draw) by the number of all matches played, in the last two qualification rounds of the World Cup or European Championship. Results from the final tournaments, Play-off matches and friendly games were all ignored. In those cases where a nation did not take part at one of the two latest qualifying rounds, due to being directly qualified as a host, only one qualifying round would be taken into account.
If two or more nations ended up with exactly the same coefficient, the following ranking criteria was applied:
On 20 May 2008, UEFA announced changes to the coefficient ranking system. The ranking will continue to be calculated every second year in November, but under the new system, teams now gain ranking points for each game played in the most recently completed full cycle (defined as all qualifying games and final tournament games) of both the World Cup and European Championship, with addition of ranking points for each game played at the latest completed half cycle (defined as all games played in the latest qualifying round). Ranking points for all games played inside those two and a half cycles, will be awarded according to the rules listed below.
The coefficients from 2017, to be used for the seeding and pot placements in the draw for 2018–19 UEFA Nations League, were calculated for each country by averaging:
After the recalculation of the coefficient rankings for the 2007 cycle, Italy were ranked top following their FIFA World Cup victory in 2006. Runners-up France lay behind them in second place, followed by the Czech Republic. Spain overtook Italy to gain first place following their UEFA Euro 2008 win, with beaten finalists Germany moving into second; the Netherlands were third.
Spain consolidated their top spot by winning the 2010 FIFA World Cup, with the Netherlands jumping above Germany by finishing second in the tournament. In the 2013 rankings, Spain maintained top spot by winning their third major competition in a row - UEFA Euro 2012. Germany regained second, with the Dutch falling back to third place after failing to make it out of their group.
Germany climbed to the top of the 2015 rankings as a result of their 2014 FIFA World Cup success; Spain dropped behind them. England reached their highest position in the rankings - placed third. Germany held on to top spot in 2017, with new European champions Portugal in second; Belgium were third.
The country coefficient is used to rank the football associations of Europe, and thus determine the number of clubs from an association that will participate in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League.
The UEFA ranking determines the number of teams competing in the season after the next, not in the first season after the publication of the ranking. Thus, the rankings at the end of the 2017–18 season determine the team allocation by association in the 2019–20 (not 2018–19) UEFA season; however, the actual teams that will be participating in the 2019–20 UEFA season are determined at the end of the 2018–19 season when the individual association classifications and national cups are finalized.
This coefficient is determined by the results of the clubs of the associations in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League games over the past five seasons. Two points are awarded for each win by a club, and one for a draw (points are halved in the qualifying and playoff rounds). Results determined by extra time do count in determining the allocation of points, but results determined by penalty-shootouts do not affect the allocation of points, other than for bonus points given for qualification into the latter rounds of the Champions League or the Europa League. The number of points awarded each season is divided by the number of teams that participated for that association in that season. This number is then rounded down to three decimal places (e.g. 2⅔ would be rounded to 2.666).
To determine a country's coefficient for a particular season, the coefficients for the last five seasons are added. Bonus points are added to the number of points scored in a season. Bonus points are allocated for:
The ranking below takes into account of each association's performance in European competitions from 2013–14 to 2017–18, with the 2017–18 season currently taking place.
The final ranking at the end of the 2017–18 season will be used to determine the number of places for each association in the 2019–20 UEFA Champions League and 2019–20 UEFA Europa League.
NOTE: The following information regarding number of qualification spots is based on the regulations of the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League, which are used for the three-year UEFA club competition cycle beginning in the 2015–16 season and ending in the 2017–18 season. All information is subject to future changes by UEFA.
(L: League, C: Cup, LC: League cup1)
|Coefficient||Teams||Places in 2019–20 season|
|1||1||—||Spain (L, C)||23.000||20.214||23.928||20.142||19.714||106.998||0/7||4||3||7|
|2||3||+1||England (L, C, LC1)||16.785||13.571||14.250||14.928||20.071||79.605||0/7|
|3||4||+1||Italy (L, C)||14.166||19.000||11.500||14.250||17.333||76.249||0/6|
|4||2||–2||Germany (L, C)||14.714||15.857||16.428||14.571||9.857||71.427||0/7|
|5||5||—||France (L, C, LC1)||8.500||10.916||11.083||14.416||11.500||56.415||0/6||3||6|
|6||6||—||Russia (L, C)||10.416||9.666||11.500||9.200||12.600||53.382||0/5|
|7||7||—||Portugal (L, C)||9.916||9.083||10.500||8.083||9.666||47.248||0/6||2||5|
|8||8||—||Ukraine (L, C)||7.833||10.000||9.800||5.500||8.000||41.133||0/5|
|9||9||—||Belgium (L, C)||6.400||9.600||7.400||12.500||2.600||38.500||0/5|
|10||10||—||Turkey (L, C)||6.700||6.000||6.600||9.700||6.800||35.800||0/5|
|11||15||+4||Austria (L, C)||7.800||4.125||3.800||7.375||9.750||32.850||0/4|
|12||12||—||Switzerland (L, C)||7.200||6.900||5.300||4.300||6.500||30.200||0/5|
|13||11||–2||Czech Republic (L, C)||8.000||3.875||7.300||5.500||5.500||30.175||0/5|
|14||13||–1||Netherlands (L, C)||5.916||6.083||5.750||9.100||2.900||29.749||0/5|
|15||14||–1||Greece (L, C)||6.100||6.200||5.400||5.800||5.100||28.600||0/5|
|16||16||—||Croatia (L, C)||4.375||6.875||4.500||5.125||5.125||26.000||0/4||1||4|
|17||18||+1||Denmark (L, C)||3.800||2.900||5.500||8.500||5.250||25.950||0/4|
|18||22||+4||Israel (L, C)||5.750||1.375||2.250||6.750||5.625||21.750||0/4|
|19||24||+5||Cyprus (L, C)||2.750||3.300||3.000||5.500||7.000||21.550||0/4|
|20||17||–3||Romania (L, C)||6.875||5.125||2.250||3.300||2.900||20.450||0/5|
|21||20||–1||Poland (L, C)||3.125||4.750||5.500||3.875||2.875||20.125||0/4|
|22||21||–1||Sweden (L, C)||3.200||3.900||4.750||2.750||5.375||19.975||0/4|
|23||26||+3||Azerbaijan (L, C)||2.500||3.625||4.375||4.250||4.375||19.125||0/4|
|24||27||+3||Bulgaria (L, C)||5.625||4.250||1.000||4.250||4.000||19.125||0/4|
|25||28||+3||Serbia (L, C)||2.500||2.750||4.250||2.875||6.375||18.750||0/4|
|26||23||–3||Scotland (L, C)||3.250||4.000||3.000||4.375||4.000||18.625||0/4|
|27||19||–8||Belarus (L, C)||1.750||5.500||5.125||3.000||3.250||18.625||0/4|
|28||29||+1||Kazakhstan (L, C)||3.125||3.375||4.625||2.750||4.250||18.125||0/4|
|29||25||–4||Norway (L, C)||2.600||2.200||7.250||1.375||4.000||17.425||0/4|
|30||30||—||Slovenia (L, C)||2.625||4.000||1.000||2.250||4.625||14.500||0/4|
|32||31||–1||Slovakia (L, C)||1.625||2.750||3.750||2.125||1.875||12.125||0/4||1||3||4|
|33||34||+1||Moldova (L, C)||3.375||1.750||1.250||0.875||2.750||10.000||0/4|
|34||37||+3||Albania (L, C)||2.000||0.875||2.125||0.875||2.625||8.500||0/4|
|35||35||—||Iceland (L, C)||2.500||2.500||1.125||1.000||1.125||8.250||0/4|
|36||33||–3||Hungary (L, C)||0.875||2.125||1.625||1.875||1.625||8.125||0/4|
|37||42||+5||Macedonia (L, C)||0.500||1.125||1.500||1.250||3.125||7.500||0/4|
|38||36||–2||Finland (L, C)||0.500||2.400||1.000||1.750||1.250||6.900||0/4|
|39||38||–1||Republic of Ireland (L, C)||0.250||2.000||0.700||2.625||1.125||6.700||0/4|
|40||39||–1||Bosnia and Herzegovina (L, C)||1.500||1.750||1.500||0.500||1.375||6.625||0/4|
|41||41||—||Latvia (L, C)||1.625||0.250||1.625||1.375||0.750||5.625||0/4|
|42||43||+1||Estonia (L, C)||1.000||1.500||1.000||1.375||0.625||5.500||0/4|
|43||48||+5||Lithuania (L, C)||1.250||0.500||0.750||0.500||2.375||5.375||0/4|
|44||44||—||Montenegro (L, C)||1.250||0.750||1.000||0.875||1.125||5.000||0/4|
|45||40||–5||Georgia (L, C)||1.875||1.250||0.625||1.125||0.125||5.000||0/4|
|46||45||–1||Armenia (L, C)||1.125||0.375||1.625||1.125||0.625||4.875||0/4|
|47||49||+2||Malta (L, C)||0.875||0.125||0.875||1.250||1.375||4.500||0/4|
|48||46||–2||Luxembourg (L, C)||1.500||0.500||0.750||0.750||0.875||4.375||0/4|
|49||47||–2||Northern Ireland (L, C)||0.875||1.375||0.750||0.500||0.750||4.250||0/4|
|50||50||—||Wales (L, C)||0.750||0.125||1.500||1.000||0.500||3.875||0/4|
|51||51||—||Faroe Islands (L, C)||0.875||1.375||0.375||0.375||0.750||3.750||0/4|
|52||52||—||Gibraltar (L, C)||No entry||0.250||0.750||1.500||0.500||3.000||0/3||2||3|
|53||53||—||Andorra (L, C)||0.333||0.500||0.166||0.166||0.166||1.331||0/3|
|54||54||—||San Marino (L, C)||0.333||0.000||0.000||0.000||0.166||0.499||0/3|
|55||55||—||Kosovo (L3, C)||
Not a UEFA member
1 The winners of the league cups of England and France are given a place in the UEFA Europa League by special permission from UEFA (replacing the lowest-ranked league team which would have qualified).
2 The Liechtenstein Football Association does not organize a national league competition and all its seven clubs compete in the Swiss football league system. As a result, the only competitor from Liechtenstein in European competitions is the Liechtenstein Cup winners, who qualify for the UEFA Europa League.
3 The Football Federation of Kosovo became a UEFA member on 3 May 2016. The participation of their domestic league champions in the UEFA Champions League and their domestic cup winners in the UEFA Europa League were to be confirmed following the assessment of club licensing criteria by 31 May 2016, but was denied by UEFA in June due to the clubs failing licensing requirements or provision of suitable stadiums (as UEFA did not allow them to play their home matches in a foreign country).
UEFA uses this coefficient system to decide which teams gain automatic entry to the group stage and which teams must go through qualifying. The teams who occupy the top three league places in the countries ranked 1 to 3 in UEFA competition gain automatic entry into the group stages for the following season’s Champions League competition. The first and second placed teams in the countries ranked 4 to 6 also gain automatic entry, as do the champions in the countries ranked 7 to 12. The Champions League and Europa League winners also get the chance to participate in the following season’s competition, with the Champions League title holders guaranteed an automatic entry into the group stage.
According to the UEFA regulations a National League needs to consist of at least eight clubs to be considered valid, otherwise no participants of such a league will be allowed to enter European competitions.
The original European competition, the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, was limited to certain clubs and/or by invitation, so no coefficient calculation was necessary.
Following the introduction of the UEFA Cup in 1971, the competition began to grow in complexity. UEFA began to publish rankings in 1979, to identify the number of participants for each country in the UEFA Cup.
Subsequently, for statistical purposes, various rankings were introduced to portray the history of competitions. According to the prorated (extended) calculation system, only four leagues have succeeded in being ranked as the top European league.
Following the Heysel Stadium disaster, all English teams were banned from UEFA competitions in 1985. The ban was only lifted after five seasons, with the knock-on effects continuing to impact on the First Division and then the Premier League for a total of nine years from 1986 to 1994. Having been top in 1985, England were unranked in 1990, and would not regain the top position until 2008.
The following data indicates the two top-ranked leagues in each five-year period. Data prior to 1975–1979 period has been calculated, but precedes the first published by the Confederation and has merely informative value. The color change indicates the change in the method of assigning points adopted by the UEFA.
The table shows the ranking of nations with respect to the total number of years in the top two of the rankings after 1974:
|First Division/Premier League||15||14|
The club coefficient rankings are determined by the results of clubs in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League over the previous five seasons, as well as by the coefficient of the clubs' association. The club coefficient is the sum of the points earned by the club over the five seasons, but no less than 20% of the club's association coefficient. Prior to the 2018 club rankings, teams received the sum of their points earned over the last five seasons plus 20% of the club's association coefficient.
The clubs receive two points for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a defeat in games of the main stages of the Champions League and the Europa League. Results determined after extra-time are included in this method, however results determined after penalty shoot-outs are not (the result is considered a draw). Bonus points for entering the Europa League group stage are not additional to win/draw points; they provide a minimum points allowance for participating clubs, whereas bonus points for entering the Champions League group stage (and those for qualifying to the knockout stage) are additional to win/draw points.
Qualifying round results are only taken into account if the team is eliminated in one of the rounds (see table below). Otherwise, the qualifying round results are taken into account only for the calculation of the association's coefficient and are halved. The clubs do not receive any points for elimination in the Champions League third qualifying round or the play-off because those teams move to the Europa League and receive points from participation in that competition.
|Champions League||Europa League|
|First qualifying round elimination||0.5||0.25|
|Second qualifying round elimination||1||0.5|
|Third qualifying round elimination||–||1|
|Group stage participation||4||2|
|Win in group stage or subsequent round||2||2|
|Draw in group stage or subsequent round||1||1|
|Round of 16 participation||5||–|
|Quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals participation||1||1|
This ranking is used by UEFA to determine a club's seeding in club competition draws, including the preliminary and first rounds of the Champions League, and the preliminary, first and second rounds of the Europa League.
Before 1999 a number of strong teams in the UEFA Cup were seeded such that those teams did not meet in the first two rounds. To determine these teams, the sum of the ratio of the number of points achieved to the number of games played by each team, was calculated for the past five years.
|16||19||+3||Zenit Saint Petersburg||Russia||16.000||17.000||19.000||12.000||14.000||78.000||10.636|
The following data indicate the top-ranked clubs in each 5-year period. Data prior to 1975–1979 period has been calculated, but precedes the first published by the Confederation and has merely informative value.
Top-rated clubs listed by number of times they were top-ranked over a 5-year period since the first period officially analysed (1975–1979):
The UEFA coefficient system has been criticised for being likely to preserve the status quo for rankings and seedings, as well as for favouring teams from stronger leagues.
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