In an exclusive investigation, Ibrox Noise’s Derek Cunningham explores the great European con of the co-efficient and how Rangers have defied the impossible. In part one, we introduce you to the basics.
Everywhere you go, all you hear is Scotland’s coefficient is improving. Few have any idea how this number is derived, and fewer still know the con that is being played on half of Europe.
There are actually three UEFA coefficients. One is for the National Team, which is used to determine how National Teams are divided for entry into various Competitions.
The club coefficient is used to rank individual teams for seedings in the UEFA Champions League, The UEFA Europa League and the controversial UEFA Conference League.
Then there is the Country Coefficient, which is the centre of what I call the Great Con. This is number that is used to determine how many teams a country can get in each competition.
Nowadays, for club teams the most important number is the Country Coefficient. If your country is higher up the pecking order, there is a greater chance of getting into one of the three competitions, and if your country manages to get high enough up the ladder, you might even find your team is given an automatic place in the Championship League. Woopee.
Looking at the rules the basic idea does really sound simple, and perhaps it even sounds fair. Who wants to see one-sided matches? If you want to participate in the top competitions simply win more games than you lose and you go up the rankings. Lose more and you go down.
Yes it sounds simple, and it sounds fair, but there is nothing fair about this system, and I will now show you why.
Teams at the bottom of the Country Coefficient naturally have to prove they are good enough to play at UEFA’s premier competitions, and to do that they have to navigate a series of qualifiers.
Again, this all sounds fair; but it only takes a cursory glance to know something is amiss, when teams from the Champions league are being parachuted into the secondary competition, and will soon be parachuted into a new tertiary competition. In fact, there is nothing fair about this point system, nor the parachute idea.
The problem is, the system is designed to make it almost impossible for teams at the bottom of this system to break into the money earning top-third of the coefficient table. It takes far too long for a country to move up the table, and if a team from a lower ranked country has a great talent in their ranks, they eventually get tired of playing four qualifiers in a row, just for the chance of playing in the group stages. At least in the old system every team had an equal chance, and the most important thing was every team had to play the same number of games.
However, in a moment of greed, the ruling body decided that the so-called “Champions” who lost were not losers. No, they had to be given a great big box of Kleenex tissues, and a chance to get back on the money trail, by being dropped into the Europa League. Oh, and because losing is so hard to take, they also let them play against the weakest teams to give them the best possible chance of getting through to the money-making group stages of the Europa league. The poor small team from a lower ranked country, would then be knocked out of the competition far earlier than they should, and their coefficient they are left to take home is perhaps a measly 1 point, and If they are really lucky, their country does not sink further down the rankings.
In part two, we further explore exactly the problems this presents and how it’s relevant to the Famous. Stay tuned.