Importance of UEFA Coefficient

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UEFA coefficient is an activity of ranking teams of clubs and international competitions, according to the statistics maintained. The seeding of teams was started in the year 1979. Seeding was made mandatory such that no two tough competitors get a chance to meet before the semi-final round or before the final showdown.

Initially, this process was carried out by the UEFA, who is responsible for the football tournaments within Europe. The UEFA calculation for men’s competitions is subdivided into three types namely:

  • National team coefficient
  • Country coefficient
  • Club coefficient

National team coefficient

The national team coefficient ranks the national teams. National teams include the teams that are members of FIFA, teams having membership in a FIFA affiliated continental confederation without being a member of FIFA and also the teams of sovereign states.

This sort of ranking helps in seeding qualifiers and final tournaments of the UEFA European Championship. The outcome of each European National football team is recorded and maintained from which the national team coefficient is calculated. This derivation is generally done by the UEFA for a regular interval of every second year in November.

An official UEFA rank is assigned, which acts as seeding criteria for the European nations for the upcoming qualifier rounds of the European Championship. In 2006, the UEFA national team coefficient was used for seeding the qualification groups of World cup whereas the final rounds of the tournament were seeded based on the official FIFA World Rankings. Later on the request of FIFA, the seeding of qualifier rounds on the basis of UEFA national team coefficient stopped. The entire World Cup tournament seeding is now done by the FIFA World Rankings.

Former methods of ranking

The former method of seeding the teams was initiated in the year 2003. Using this method, the 2004 European final tournament and the 2006 World Cup qualification was seeded. Till the end of UEFA Euro 2008, the national team coefficient was calculated by dividing the overall points scored by the total number of matches played, taking into account the last two qualifier rounds of the European Championship or World Cup. The knock-out rounds, friendly games, and the final tournament results are ignored. In such a scenario, the host team which automatically gets qualified for the first round, only the second qualifier round is considered.

What if two or more nations end up with the same coefficient? A set of criterion was framed to favor any one of the nations.

  • The highest coefficient of the recently played qualifier round is compared
  • The highest average number of goals netted per game
  • An average of the highest number of away goals netted per game
  • The average goal difference per game, calculated by dividing the summation of all goal differences by the total number of seeded matches
  • If the coefficient is still the same then, drawing of lots is preferred

The current method of ranking

Since 20 May 2008, the method followed to seed teams has been changed. Every team receives a ranking point for each game played in the most recently completed full cycle which includes the qualifying rounds and the final tournament of both World Cup and European Championship.

It also takes into account the ranking points of the recently played half cycle (i.e.) the games played in the recent qualifying round. The rules for the ranking points awarded to those two and a half cycle is mentioned below;

  • For every match, 10,000 points are awarded, regardless of the match result
  • An additional 30,000 is credited for every team if won and 10,000 for drawing
  • The penalty shoot-out games are considered as a draw, with the winner of the shoot-out gaining an additional 10,000 points
  • Bonus points ranging from 6,000 per playoff or World Cup to 38,000 points for playing a final are granted for every single match at the final tournament
  • For every goal 501 points are awarded, and for a conceded goal -500 is applied
  • The coefficient calculation for each two and a half cycle is done by dividing the sum of credited points with the total number of matches played
  • While calculating the average coefficient of the cycles, the latest full cycle and the half cycle will each have double the weight, than that of the oldest full cycle
  • The hosting team has special arrangements due to their participation in only one of the qualifying rounds

Country coefficient

The country coefficient is used to determine the number of clubs that will participate in the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Champions League from an association. The football associations of Europe are ranked using the country coefficient method. The UEFA ranking helps to seed teams of a season not immediately after the publication of that particular season. The season skipped by a year is benefited.

However, the confirmed teams that might take part in the season are determined at the end of the previous year’s national cups and individual association classification. Over the past five seasons, the outcome of the associations in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League games is determined using the country coefficient.

Points system

  • 1 point is awarded for a draw match
  • 2 points are credited for a match won
  • The penalty shoot-out is not taken into account for the point calculation
  • Results of the extra-time for finalizing the winner is considered for the point calculation

The penalty shoot-out benefits the team that gets qualified through it. The points awarded each season is divided by the number of teams that participated for that association in that season.

Club coefficient

To calculate the club coefficient, the records of previously played five seasons results of UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League including the coefficient of the clubs’ association is taken into account. The sum of the points earned by the club over the five seasons gives the club coefficient. The considered coefficient cannot be less than 20%.

Point calculation

  • 2 points are awarded on a win
  • 1 point for a draw match
  • No points are awarded for the defeated team in the final stages of Europa League and Champions League
  • The point calculation is included for the results of the extra-time
  • Results of penalty shoot-outs are not considered
  • Extra credits are given to the clubs entering the Champions League’s group stage whether they win/draw
  • No additional points are awarded to clubs entering the Europa League
  • Minimum points are awarded to every participating club

In general, the overall points earned by a particular club is added. 20% of that club’s Country coefficient is included in a given season. The resultant is the club coefficient for one single season. The final club coefficient is the summation of the previous five seasons.

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