UEFA coefficients battle 2023/24: Top 50 spot

New season, new coefficient battles

While Manchester City recently clinched the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League title, the 2023/24 season is already right around the corner. Many of the more established leagues will commence in August. The clubs from those aforementioned leagues will also kick off their continental commitments in late August or in September.

But, for many of Europe’s lesser known leagues and clubs, preparations for the new season are already underway. The Champions League will have its preliminary round mini-tournament at the end of the month, with the Europa Conference League qualifiers starting in early July. The Europa League qualifying rounds occur in August.

As the qualifying matches take place throughout out the summer, there will be one important aspect that is often overlooked by many. However, now more than ever, UEFA’s country coefficient ranking will be more prevalent, thanks to the new changes to the club competitions starting in the 2024/25 season.

This article will look at the battle for a top 50 place in the five-year coefficient ranking. The importance of ending the season 50th or better is being able to send four teams into Europe for the 2025/26 season. A breakdown of all seven countries involved in this race, their teams in Europe, and recent performances from each countries’ clubs in Europe. Finally, an expert look on which three national associations are most likely to end up 50th or better this season and why.

The countries involved

Countries starting the season in the top 50


Albania has seen something of a free-fall down the rankings over the last couple of seasons. Regularly finishing in the high 40s in the five-year ranking, the Balkan country now finds itself in the midst of a battle to try and maintain having four teams in Europe.

Albanian representatives in the 2023/24 European season.

Partizani Tirana won the league in dramatic fashion, earning the Champions League spot. They will start in the first qualifying round. Egnatia, FK Tirana and Vllaznia will all end up in the first round of qualification in the Europa Conference League.

Over the last two campaigns, Albanian clubs have picked up 2.750 points for the country. That is the 47th best of the 55 countries. This will have to be improved upon, otherwise a bottom five finish in the five-year ranking is quite realistic.


Despite boasting a solid national team, Welsh domestic football is at the bottom end of the country rankings for European club competition.

Welsh representatives in the 2023/24 European season.

As always, The New Saints will be the league’s sole representatives in the Champions League, commencing in Q1. Connah’s Quay will be joined by European debutants Penybont and Harverfordwest County in Q1 of the UECL.

Over the last two seasons, Wales has picked up a total of 2.666 coefficient points, a very similar number to Albania. Having been in this end of the ranking for several years, there is a real chance that they could end up under the top 50 line at season’s end.


A heavily under-performing nation in recent times, Belarus has gone from a comfortable mid-30 ranked country to one fighting to be in the top 50 by the end of the next campaign. A remarkable fall for a league that regularly saw a club in the group stages.

Belorussian representatives in the 2023/24 European season.

Due to a combination of match fixing scandals – past and present – along with teams not applying for UEFA Licenses, Belarus will see teams who finished as low as ninth in 2022 represent them in Europe. BATE Borisov will end up in the Champions League starting in Q1. Torpedo Zhodino kicks off their European season in Q2 of the Conference League, while Dinamo Minsk and Neman Grodno will both enter the same competition the round earlier.

Belarus is one of two countries (the other being San Marino) to not collect 1.000 coefficient points over the last two seasons. That is a far cry from a league that was in a very different position just three years ago. This is a trend that can seldom continue if Belarus wishes to remain in the top 50.

Countries starting the season in the bottom 5


One of the newest UEFA members, Gibraltar will enjoy the 10th season of sending teams into Europe. Hopefully in their case it will end with them in the top 50.

Gibraltar’s representatives in the 2023/24 European season.

Continuing their domination of the domestic league, Lincoln Red Imps will be the league’s Champions League representative. They start in Q1, as will Magpies and Europa FC in the Europa Conference League.

A total of 2.125 points over the last two European seasons is just not enough to keep any league out of the bottom five leagues. Gibraltar will need a strong performance from their three clubs in 2023/24.

North Macedonia

Another country that has seen a fall in recent years, North Macedonia starts the season in 52nd place. A decent lineup of clubs will be responsible to carry the league out of the bottom five by the end of the campaign.

North Macedonian representatives in the 2023/24 European season.

Struga is the club that will spearhead the country in Europe after capturing their first ever top division title in 2022/23. While Makedonija GJP, Shkupi and Shkëndija take up the UECL Q1 spots for the country Struga will enjoy Champions League qualifying.

With 2.250 points earned in the last two seasons, North Macedonia the sixth worst country in that regard. However, they had a solid year in 2022/23, and if that is repeated, it should be enough to pull them out of the bottom five.


Nearly a decade ago, Montenegro was in the top 40 of the five-year ranking and looked like a decent league. Flash forward nine years on, and they are in a pickle, sitting third bottom going into the season.

Montenegrin representatives in the 2023/24 European season.

Budućnost was in a two-horse race with Sutjeska for much of the season. When the dust settled, the Podgorica-based club won the title on head-to-head. They will enter the Champions League’s preliminary round. Sutjeska will enter the Conference League Q1 alongside Arsenal Tivat, the team they defeated in the Montenegrin Cup final.

Perhaps having three clubs in Europe will present an opportunity for Montenegro to make some headway in the rankings. More points for a win will come in handy. With two European regulars, they chance is to build upon their sluggish 1.750 points won across the two most recent seasons.


For the longest time, Andorra has been the 54th ranked country in UEFA’s five-year ranking. Now entering into 2023/24 in 53rd spot, the landlocked microstate could have a chance at sneaking out of the bottom five.

Andorran representatives in the 2023/24 European season.

After a close title race, Atlètic Club d’Escaldes won their maiden Primera Divisió title. They will start in the UCL’s preliminary round. Inter Club d’Escaldes won the cup, and will be joined by FC Santa Coloma in Q1 of the Conference League.

Although many will expect Andorra to finish 54th once again, there is reason for hope.  With 2.166 points earned in the last two years, the improvements are there. With both UECL teams seeded in the Q1 draw, who is to say that Andorra will not continue on their slow-but-steady upward trajectory?

Season predictions: who will be in the top 50?

As it always is, the top 50 battle will be a fascinating watch. Having four European spots is quite a significant deal for most of these countries. Its importance cannot be underestimated. The question is, who will join San Marino in the bottom five at season’s end?

In order of their predicted final season ranking, this is how I see things panning out:

  1. Belarus
  2. North Macedonia
  3. Albania

  4. Wales
  5. Montenegro
  6. Gibraltar
  7. Andorra

With BATE being moved up to Champions League qualifying, I sense this will do the trick for Belarus. As they will be seeded in the Q1 draw, I can see them at least making the UECL group stage. In doing so, they will collect enough points to assure Belarus a top 50 finish. Also, Belarus is the only country in this list whose league is currently going on right now. That will allow the players to be more match fit throughout the summer, ultimately benefiting them.

North Macedonia also looks like they will have a rather strong campaign. Shkupi and Shkëndija will both be seeded in the Q1 and Q2 draws of the Conference League. That could set them up for a deep run in qualifying, perhaps even to the playoff round. As a result, I expect them to end up in the top 50 at the end of the season.

Albania is the country I think will be the last country in the top 50 at the conclusion of the 2023/24 campaign. Funny enough, I do not expect them to do well this season. None of their teams will be seeded at any point, which will make things all the more complicated for them. The only reason I see them avoiding the bottom five is because I just cannot see four of the other six countries doing enough to pass them.

I believe both Wales and Gibraltar will have disappointing campaigns. Both will be lucky to get to 1.000 point on the year. Despite The New Saints being seeded in CL Q1, my question is who else will help them collect points? My answer to that question is no one. Similarly, none of Gibraltar’s clubs look convincing enough to carry their national association on their back. So, both miss out for me.

As for Montenegro, I can see them having a more than decent season in Europe. Here is the problem: they are in such a deep hole that they will need to collect at least 1.500 points to get out of the bottom five. I cannot see them doing that, despite having two European regulars representing them in Budućnost and Sutjeska.

Finally, for Andorra, their situation is similar to Montenegro’s. I like the showings that their clubs have shown in recent years. Unfortunately, that will seldom cut it. Too many things would need to go right for Andorra for them to crack the top 50. On that basis, they remain in the bottom five.

The first ball will be kicked on 27 June with the Champions League preliminary round semifinals. From there, the qualifying round matches will come thick and fast. Time will tell to see which countries can end up in the top 50 and enjoy the perks of having four European places in the 2025/26 campaign.

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