UEFA coefficient changes explained: What it means for the Premier League
Last Updated: 14/02/17 6:21am
Last season there was serious concern the Premier League could lose a Champions League spot due to a complicated coefficient system. But a recent UEFA ruling has changed that...
The current model, which is in place until the end of the 2017/18 season, gives four Champions League places to the top three ranked associations. Currently Spain top the ranking, followed by Germany and then England in third.
Following a number of below-par performances by English clubs in Europe, there was a genuine fear the Premier League could lose one of its four qualifying spots to Serie A for the 2017/18 campaign.
But the failure of Italian clubs to reach the quarter-final stage of the competition last year helped ensure England retained third place in UEFA's coefficient ranking.
At the start of this season, though, the gap between England in third and Italy in fourth was down to just 1.952 points, leaving the Premier League vulnerable once again.
However, UEFA have reformed their coefficient system, extending four guaranteed places to the top four ranked national associations, effective from the 2018/19 season.
These 16 clubs are also now guaranteed to reach the group stage of the Champions League, meaning the Premier League side that finishes fourth will no longer enter the competition at the play-off round.
And crucially it means the Premier League will no longer lose a spot should it fall behind Italy into fourth place in the coefficient ranking.
France is currently in fifth place on 52.999 points, well short of England in third with 72.391 points and Italy in fourth with 69.998 points.
Top 5 association club coefficients
It also looks extremely difficult for Ligue 1 to overhaul the Premier League in the near future - at present Ligue 1 needs to make up almost 20 points.
France has never scored more coefficient points than England over the last five years and is once again behind England on points scored for the 2016/17 season so far.
France, which has four clubs remaining in European football, still has the chance to outscore England this season, which has five teams remaining, but coefficients operate over a five-year rolling average.
So while England could fall below Italy into fourth place, it is unlikely they will also drop below France, unless Ligue 1 teams consistently and significantly outscore their Premier League rivals over the next few years.
The major changes from 2018/19
- The Europa League winners will automatically qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage (currently they can potentially play in a play-off round)
- The top four clubs from the four top-ranked national associations will now qualify automatically for the group stage of the Champions League
- The number of teams per association is capped at five for the UEFA Champions League group stage and any change will be determined in due course
- The Champions League will continue to have a 32-team group stage leading to a 16-club knockout phase. Similarly the Europa League remains at 48 teams