The race between England and Italy to end the season in the top three of the UEFA association club coefficient rankings is the key positional battle ahead of the 2017/18 competition allocations – and so far the Premier League maintains third place from Serie A at the midway point of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League group stages.
Having slipped behind Germany in the UEFA association club coefficient rankings, England are now looking to hold off Italy and retain the all-important third position that will ensure four UEFA Champions League berths in 2017/18.
The associations' positions in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League access list are determined on the basis of the associations' coefficients established at the end of the 2015/16 season, on the basis of the associations' coefficients from seasons 2011/12 to 2015/16.
Following last season's rankings, which decided the allocations for 2016/17, England were second behind Spain and ahead of Germany in the rankings, calculated over a five-year period, ensuring this season's Liga, Premier League and Bundesliga get the four slots. However, the 2010/11 campaign, which was especially good for England and weak for fourth-placed Italy, is dropping out of the reckoning, meaning Serie A began 2015/16 just three points behind England while the Bundesliga has already overtaken the Premier League.
However, so far this term England have picked up 5.250 points to Italy's 5.000, though the gap of 67.284 to 63.939 is slightly smaller than it was earlier in the group stages. This reflects good results for Juventus, Napoli and Lazio of the four Italian clubs remaining in Europe, while none of England's six contenders top their sections.
As for Spain, their record five UEFA Champions League contenders and two UEFA Europa League clubs have between them managed 7.357 ranking points, more than any other nation. Spain overall lead Germany 89.142 to 70.177 and the Liga remains on course to become the first league to register a coefficient of over 100.
Also performing well are Russia, the only country to have amassed a 2015/16 score comparable to Spain's, 7.100. This leaves Russia closing in on France for sixth spot, which earns a second automatic UEFA Champions League group berth and third overall for 2017/18, with Portugal in fifth also in their sights.
In the club rankings, the loss of Barcelona's UEFA Champions League-winning 2010/11 haul has taken them down to provisional third place behind Bayern München, but the European title holders are pushing back on their German rivals, outscoring them 10.471-9.285 this season, though neither are likely to challenge Real Madrid's top slot.
Just one club are outscoring Barcelona and Madrid in 2015/16 ranking points and that is Zenit, the sole 100% team in the UEFA Champions League. They remain in 14th position for now but are closing fast on Valencia. Compared with the end of last term, Juventus are up to seventh from 14th, gaining several places from the dropping of the 2010/11 points and then so far in the group stage overtaking Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund.
FOR REFERENCE: the access list that will be used for allocation to the 2016/17 club competitions is based on the association club coefficient rankings at the end of 2014/15 (taking into account the season's 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15). The rankings including 2015/16 results will be used to decide allocations in 2017/18.
Seedings for UEFA national team competitions are decided by the UEFA National Team Coefficient Ranking: the latest version was released on 9 September and is used to seed UEFA European Championship draws.
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