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UEFA Champions League coefficient: What to know if Italy secures a fifth UCL spot and England collapses



UEFA Champions League coefficient: What to know if Italy secures a fifth UCL spot and England collapses

It’s been a huge series of quarter-finals in the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference Leagues and we can look at the semi-finals in just over a week’s time. The stakes are higher than ever this year given the upcoming changes to the Champions League from next season and the situation has led to two separate coefficient battles that will determine how many teams from the different leagues will qualify for the next campaign’s competitions. The battle for a fifth UCL spot through the competition mainly involves Germany, Italy, England and Spain, but France and the Netherlands have also been battling to be part of that top five, with the French currently leading the way ahead of the switch to the so-called “Swiss” format.

We explain why the UEFA coefficient means so much in European football right now and why you’ll be hearing a lot more about it as continental football progresses.

Additional UCL Place Ranking

  • 1: Italy — 19,428 points (3/7 teams) *Confirmed additional UCL berth.


  • 2: Germany — 17,928 points (3/7 teams)
  • 3: England — 17,375 points (1/8 teams)
  • 4: France — 16,083 points (2/6 teams)
  • 5: Spain — 15,312 points (1/8 teams)
  • 6: Belgium — 14,200 points (1/5 teams)

What is this?

Italy’s Serie A and another of Europe’s domestic leagues will receive additional Champions League places as part of the upcoming expansion to a 36-club competition. Four more clubs will qualify than currently the case and two of those four places will be awarded to the domestic leagues that have performed best across Europe this season. Each win is worth two coefficient points, with one point awarded for a draw and zero for a loss, with each country being judged on the best average coefficient of all its competing sides. Bonus points exist which provide an extra boost – especially in the Champions League – on top of the points achieved by all clubs and which are added together and then divided by the number of participating clubs, which in turn produces the coefficient average.

Why do we have this?

UEFA’s coefficient rankings are designed to measure the respective strength of each domestic competition against their combined continental performance. Wins count the same in all competitions, as otherwise it would be impossible for competitions without Champions League group stage representatives to ever move up the rankings. Bonus points may count less under the UCL, but some leagues – such as the Netherlands in recent years – have benefited from dropping out of the Champions League and into the Europa League and building up points there or in the Europa Conference League. Each two-legged tie has five potential points at stake, and the UEL and UECL both offer play-off matches when teams from the higher-ranked leagues drop out.

General European coefficient

  • 1: England — 104,303 points (17,375 points from 1/8 teams in 2023-24)
  • 2: Spain — 88,739 points (15,312 points from 1/8 teams in 2023-24)
  • 3: Italy — 88,712 points (19,428 points from 3/7 teams in 2023-2024)
  • 4: Germany — 85,195 points (17,928 points from 3/7 teams in 2023-2024)
  • 5: France — 66,664 points (16,083 points from 2/6 teams in 2023-24)


  • 6: Netherlands — 61,300 points (10,000 points from 0/5 teams in 2023-24)

What do I pay attention to?

The biggest story on potential coefficients is Spain’s potential loss of a top two spot for the first time since 1998, with Italy gobbling up a large amount of ground thanks to there being more Serie A clubs in UEFA competitions at the moment remain than La Liga. Real Madrid have endured a tough quarter-final against Manchester City so far, but an elimination of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals could be disastrous for Spanish football as their Europa League and Europa Conference League hopes are already gone. Besides the fact that Italy can close the gap with Spain before the end of the season, Germany can withdraw from England while Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen are still alive. Aston Villa remain strong favorites to win the UECL despite a nervy two-legged quarter-final against Lille OSC that required penalties, but even that may not be enough for the Premier League to take the extra UCL place from the Bundesliga.

Why the divide between France and the Netherlands?

With the Champions League format changing in 2024, the way European football’s top club competition functions is also about to change. The impact on leagues behind the likes of the Premier League and La Liga could be significant, with France and the Netherlands the two countries most likely to be immediately affected as early as next year. As a result, coefficient wins have become more important than ever before and head-to-head encounters have become worth more than just three simple points in the group stage or progression to the next knockout round. Coefficient points, for those wondering, are the totals collected per country through historical UCL performance over the years.

Divide it for me…

Essentially this is a matter of placing in the group stages of the Champions League, with the coming change to a “Swiss system” structure set to change the competition format as we know it. Associations one to four – England, Spain, Italy and Germany – will have four group stage representatives between 2024 and 2025, with France beating the Netherlands to become the fifth association to also involve four clubs directly in the group stage. Association six, so the Dutch at the moment, still gets three clubs in the groups, but associations seven to fifteen only get two; the drop between fifth and sixth is sharp.

So what’s changing?

Currently, France only gets three places in the Champions League group stage and one of those clubs must qualify. They were former winners Marseille this season, and they fell in the qualifying rounds to find themselves in the Europa League, where they found themselves in Group B with Dutch giants Ajax, who have since dropped to the Europa Conference League as part of a miserable year that was exacerbated by elimination by Aston Villa. France is re-establishing itself as the historic fifth of European football powers and will suddenly double its Ligue 1 representation in the UCL groups from next season.

Why does it matter?

As with so many things, money is perhaps the main motivation, with the Champions League group stages set to be more lucrative with more matches and longer runs for those involved. For French and Dutch football, two traditional powerhouses in the field of youth talent development, this is a golden opportunity to stay in touch with the European top, without having to sell young top players year after year. The impact on the Eredivisie and Ligue 1 in particular – already a financial mess since COVID-19 – could be huge, so matches like Lens vs. PSV and Marseille vs. Ajax were of great importance as they directly influenced this unfolding scenario. However, all is not lost if a single team loses these matches, as the coefficients depend on all competing teams, meaning France is generally outperforming the Netherlands this edition. You just have to see how the Eredivisie celebrated Dutch football overtaking Portugal on the continental stage from earlier this year to understand that this is a serious matter for everyone involved.

Why is it a French-Dutch thing?

France will start the 2024-2025 system change in the top five, so with four clubs in the group stage, but the Netherlands progressed ahead of the 2025-2026 season before falling back – the Eredivisie has big work to do next year to gap, let alone overtake Ligue 1 again. The rankings for the second term of the upcoming “Swiss System” will be decided before this UEFA edition even ends, so every result counts – especially when it involves French and Dutch teams. However, it is of great importance for all the top competitions, with the Premier League and La Liga at some point overtaking both Serie A and the Bundesliga for an extra Champions League place.

So it could also apply to others?

In the long term, yes – Portugal is behind France and the Netherlands, but could regain ground in the long term to secure a place in the top five, while Germany or Italy could be overtaken by the French or Dutch years later if the Serie A and/or the Serie A or Bundesliga clubs are having a bad year. However, none of these scenarios come close to today’s reality. That is why the battle for the coefficients is currently raging more than anyone else between clubs from Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie. It also extends to leagues on the cusp of an extra UCL spot, such as the Czech Republic – unexpectedly strong in sixth place for an extra UCL spot.

How have Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie fared so far?

The Netherlands has produced six European champions, in addition to France’s; even Portugal has had four winners. In that sense, French football is not among the top five most titled domestic European leagues of all time. However, Ligue 1’s only Champions League victory came in 1993, when Marseille won the first-ever UCL. Ajax won the match two years later in 1995 – so both encounters in this year’s Europa League group stages were indicative of both countries’ struggles – while Jose Mourinho’s FC Porto triumphed against French side AS Monaco in 2004. In the Champions League era alone, Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie have recorded one win each, and both took place almost thirty years ago. France and the Netherlands have since become two of European football’s biggest talent exporters, undermining the ability of French and Dutch clubs to compete consistently in the Champions League. There have been only fleeting relative successes, such as 2020 finalists Paris Saint-Germain and semi-finalists Olympique Lyonnais, or the 2017 Monaco side, as well as Ajax’s 2019 semi-final. Unlike their Ligue 1 rivals, the However, Eredivisie clubs immediately noted that the Europa League and Europa Conference League format also increase the Dutch coefficient, with Feyenoord and AZ Alkmaar enjoying recent deep runs, closing the gap with France. One or two more Champions League places could make a big difference in how attractive the French and Dutch leagues are for both players and investors, as well as their potential impact on lucrative TV rights deals. It’s not just about the money the participating clubs will make. receives every year from 2024-25.

When will it be decided?

It has already been determined for the 2024-2025 season: France will start the new system with four representatives in the group stage, but the Netherlands was very close and led until the last few rounds. For 2025-2026, the Dutch have been overtaken by the French thanks to the continued good European form of Ligue 1 clubs this year. Neither Le Championnat nor the Eredivisie can afford to have a bad year and France has even structured its Ligue 1 finances – with the help of a private equity-funded rescue package – in favor of the clubs that regularly compete in Europe when things go for distribution. his international TV money. Barring France actually pulling out next year or an unexpectedly bad run of years for Italy or Germany, possibly even Spain, this will likely remain a hot topic for years to come.