There are four UEFA Club competitions held each year: UEFA Super Cup (USC), UEFA Champions League (UCL), UEFA Cup (UC), and UEFA Intertoto Cup (UIC).
The format of these competitions are slightly different from each other, but the latter three are organized using mainly the UEFA Country and Club Coefficiency Rankings.
The format of the competitions are rather complex in some cases. Here you will find a much simplified versions, or at least in plain English.
There will be four chapters:
1 – UEFA Country Coefficiency Rankings
2 – The Entries to the Competition
3 – The Srating Rounds of the Clubs
4 – The Seeding
UEFA COUNTRY COEFFICIENCY RANKINGS
UEFA makes two standings each year using the UCL and UC competitions, one for the clubs and other for the countries. The Country ranking is used for determining the number of entries to the next year’s cup for each country, the starting rounds of clubs. The Club ranking is used to determine the clubs to be seeded for each round.
We’ll see the Country rankings first.
The country rankings started in 1971 when UEFA did the major changes. They changed the Fairs Cup into UEFA Cup then and introduced the Country Rankings to be used to determine the number of entries to UC.
Step 1 – Awarding points to Clubs
According to that system, each club is awarded points according to the game scores in European Champions’ Cup, European Cup Winners’ Cup, and UEFA Cup.
European Super Cup and Intertoto Cup, which will be introduced much later, are not included in these calculations.
Here, let’s see the game score concept, before we go any further.
1 – If a game is played for 90 min, then the result of the game is the score at the end of 90 min. Example: A beats B 1-0 at the end of the 90 min. The score: 1-0 for A
2 – If a game is played for 120 min, then the result of the game is the score at the end of 120 min. Example: A beats B 1-0 at the end of 90 min, but B scores a goal in extra time. The score: 1-1.
3 – If any tie-breaker (Coin toss, penalty-shootouts) is used the game score is the score at the end of the 120 min. Example: A beats B 1-0 in the first game. B scores a goal in the first 90 min of the second game. Then the extra time is played and nobody scores a goal. Then the penalty-shootout starts and A beats B 4-2 in the shootouts. The game score: 1-0 for B
UEFA awarded the clubs with 2 points for each win, 1 points for each tie, and 0 for each loss. They also awarded bonus points to clubs after achieving some milestones. These milestones were reaching the quarter-finals, reaching the semi-finals, and reaching the finals. (Note: Winning the cup doesn’t worth a bonus point)
This system was used until 1999-2000 season with no changes at all, but UEFA made some changes then, since the competitions’ format changed slightly.
All European Club competitions were being called UEFA Club competitions in name. Cup Winners’ Cup competition was discontinued and the cup winners were invited to play in UC. Champions’ Cup had become Champions’ League, Inter-toto Cup was introduced.
Before the league rounds, there were three eliminations rounds in UCL and one elimination round in UC. UC Cup was getting entries from UCL in two stages and from UIC in one stage.
The ranking system saw two changes:
1 – All the points awarded during the qualification rounds were cut into half. That is, a win worths 1, a tie worths ½ points during the Qualification rounds.
2 – A bonus point is also awarded to clubs for reaching the League Stage 1 in UCL.
(Note: No bonus points for reaching the League Stage 2 in UCL. 16 clubs of the League Stage 1 gets the bonus points without playing a single game)
In UCL during the competition, the clubs are awarded 3 points for a win and the group rankings are based on that system. However, while doing the UEFA Country and Club Coeffieciency Rankings, these 3-point wins are converted again into 2-point wins.
Step 2 – Calculating Country Coefficients.
At the end of the cups, all the points of the clubs are accumulated.
Then a country’s total point is calculated by adding the totals of the clubs played for that country that year. This country total is then divided into the number of clubs played for that country. This average point per a club of that country is then called Country Coefficient.
Example: Country 1’s Club A has 25 points, Club B has 4, Club C and Club D have 1 points. The coefficient of Country 1= (25+4+1+1)/4=7.750
(Note: Coefficients are always calculated with three digits and the last digit is rounded DOWN, not UP.)
Step 3 – Doing the Coeffiency Rankings.
After each country’s coefficients are calculated, the clubs are ranked according to these coefficients. These rankings are called yearly coefficient ranking. However, the yearly coefficient rankings are not used alone by themselves. Some country’s clubs may have extra ordinarily bad or good year. This will create a distorted picture in the ranking. In order to lessen the effects of such distortions (Normalization in Statistical terms), UEFA combines the last four-years’ coefficient rankings to the last year’s ranking and use it as a five-year coefficient ranking.
Example: 99-00 five-year coefficient ranking includes 95-96, 96-97, 97-98, 98-99, and 99-00 yearly coefficient rankings.
Step 4 – Using the UEFA Country Rankings
Country Rankings are used to determine the number of clubs and, to determine the starting rounds of the clubs in UCL, UC, and UIC.
The country coefficients for a year finalized at the end of the competitions.
Because of the climate conditions, the European leagues have different scheduling. The Northern European countries have their soccer season during summer and Central and Southern countries have it during winter. The European Club competitions finalized at the same time the soccer seasons end in Southern European countries, however at that moment the Northern European Countries are almost midway into their soccer season.
The application of the five-year country coefficients then can not be used for the next season of the Southern European schedules, since it would be telling the Northern Countries their number of entries in the middle of their season. That’s why they are used the second year for Southern schedules and next year for Northern schedules.
Example: 01-02 season schedules were done by using 99-00 five-year country rankings, not 00-01’s rankings. 00-01 rankings will be used for 02-03 season. That means, the number of entries of 02-03 are already known for each country, even though the official UEFA notifications are not done.