Saturday, 2 November 2019

Exclusive: The Great Con of Europe & how Rangers defied the impossible - part 2


Continuing on with part two of our look into the European Con...

The reason why I am griping is this system places many who normally might have had a shot at doing well in the second-tier competition into the unenviable position of having to win far more matches against far better funded teams than they should have to. There is no parachute system for Europa League teams, and after several years of running this competition, UEFA now know that only two or three teams out of the 96 teams who enter in the first round will make it to the not so lucrative group stages. Very few teams have done it twice…

Then, when a team from one of the lower ranked countries does finally reach the Europa League Group Stage, they are suddenly faced with the task of competing against clubs from the top four leagues in Europe, who have infinitely more resources at their disposal. At this point the statistics are clear, these team have almost no chance to qualify from the group stages to the play-offs.

We know Rangers have defied the odds not just once, but twice, and that makes Rangers truly special, but we knew that. This year Rangers will hopefully upset the odds again and go much further than last year. Once we’re in the play-offs, anything could happen, and it often does.

However, now it’s time to explain the con in a way that anyone can understand.

To begin, let’s look at England.

This year England had four teams (Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham) that were placed directly into the Champions League. No need for qualifiers here. English teams are the richest in the world, and can buy whoever they want.

Now even though each of these teams worked hard to get to the top 4 positions in the English league, the question is, does England really need to be given 16 automatic coefficient points each year, irrespective of who qualifies?

But it does not stop here. In the Europa League England also got two teams placed automatically in the group stages. In fact, only Wolves needed to navigate the qualifiers. That gives another 6 points that are automatically allocated to the English Country Coefficient, and if Wolves had lost their very first qualifier they still would have given another 1.5 points to England’s score. So, from the seven teams England is guaranteed 23.5 coefficient points, and England didn’t need to play one single match.

Confused? You should be, because the current UEFA rules are as follows.

For 2018/19 matches onwards

UEFA Champions League points system:


Group stage participation – 4 points minimum
Group stage win – 2 points
Group stage draw – 1 point
Round of 16 participation – 4 points


Clubs are then awarded an additional point if they reach the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals or final.

No Points are not awarded for teams eliminated in the Championship qualifying rounds or play-offs, because the losing clubs then move to the UEFA Europa League and are awarded points for participation in that competition.

The UEFA Europa League points system is then:

Preliminary round elimination – 0.5 points
First qualifying round elimination – 1 point
Second qualifying round elimination – 1.5 points
Third qualifying round elimination – 2 points
Play-off elimination – 2.5 points
Group stage win – 2 points
Group stage draw – 1 point


So, clubs are guaranteed a minimum of three points if they participate in the group stage and are awarded ONE additional point if they get to the quarter-finals, semi-finals or final.

So, if for example Liverpool win all 6 matches the four points for participating in the Champions League is then replaced with 12 points from playing actual football games. Now there’s a strange idea!

However, if not one English team wins a single game, England are still guaranteed their minimums, which for England is a whopping 23.5 points.

In contrast, Scotland’s guaranteed minimum is only 3 points (three Europa League participants losing at the first round would give Scotland 1.5 points), and Celtic losing early in the Parachute down to the Europa League would give another 1.5 points. That’s 3 points vs 23.5 points. You tell me if you think that is fair?

And that is where the great con really exists. We then have to catch the teams above us, and each country above us are guaranteed, right from the beginning, to have more points, but they don’t have to do anything to collect those points.

Last year Rangers were not meant to reach the group stages. A 3% chance of reaching that far is proof UEFA does not want the small countries at the big table, but thankfully Rangers have now done the impossible twice, and Scotland will soon get a very major boost.

In the final part, we explain how this unfair treatment could be fixed. But it’s a big if…

2 comments:

  1. A scandal. You would've thought that the SFA could get together with similarly affected associations and do something about this.
    On a slightly different subject I also sense a different approach by UEFA with how they handle stadium issues resulting in ground closures. I may be wrong and ill informed but it seems to me that clubs affected usually come from outside the big 5 leagues.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're definitely on to something. This story needs a bigger audience than just here, though.

    ReplyDelete

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