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 close 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 (three automatic group stage and one qualifying place).
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 finish of the 2015/16 campaign, 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 table, calculated over a five-year period, ensuring this season's Liga, Premier League and Bundesliga each have the four UEFA Champions League 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.
After a shaky start to both group stages, England's advantage over Italy was looking fragile. After Thursday's results, the Premier League has a season total of 10.625 compared with Serie A's 10.333; however, Italy's total for the season will be divided by six teams compared to England's eight.
Meanwhile Spain's record five UEFA Champions League contenders and two UEFA Europa League clubs between them managed 13.500 ranking points, comfortably more than any other nation. Spain overall lead Germany 95.285 to 75.320 and the Liga remains on course to become the first league to register a coefficient of over 100.
Another key rankings race involves Russia's bid to replace either France or Portugal in the top six, so earning a second automatic UEFA Champions League group berth and third overall for 2017/18. The form of Zenit, Lokomotiv Moskva and Krasnodar has given Russia 11.300 points, behind only Spain and Germany in the seasonal rankings and now within 0.200 of Portugal, who have slipped marginally behind France into sixth.
The other key cut-off points are 12th place, which has carried an automatic UEFA Champions League group slot, and 15th, above which countries have a minimum two entries into the competition. The Czech Republic are giving Switzerland a run for their money for 12th, cutting the gap to 1.650 points, but Basel and Sion are still in the UEFA Europa League with only Sparta Praha representing the Czechs – the countries started the season with the same numer of teams in the competition. In the case of 15th, Austria, who still have Rapid Wien in contention, are within 0.283 points of Romania, whose teams are all eliminated.
In the club rankings, Real Madrid continue to reign supreme. The 16-point top scorers in the UEFA Champions League have added a cofficient of 22.700, clear of Barcelona's 21.700, and overall they lead second-placed Bayern München by 161.057 to 152.064.
The two sides through to the UEFA Champions League's last 16 for the first time have both made big gains. Wolfsburg are up from 67th to 39th while Gent ended last term 135th and are now 83rd, picking up 15 places alone by ending Zenit's perfect record last week and giving Belgium five clubs in the top 100.
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 has been used to seed the UEFA European Championship final tournament draw.
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