How is the League of Ireland UEFA coefficient looking?

A view of the UEFA Europa Conference League 2022/23 Group Stage match ball next to the UEFA Europa Conference League trophy

A view of the UEFA Europa Conference League 2022/23 Group Stage match ball next to the UEFA Europa Conference League trophy Credit: Kristian Skeie/UEFA/Getty Images

Reflecting on the European campaigns for League of Ireland sides a week on from the last Irish side exiting Europe and there is no hiding the fact that it was a poor campaign for Irish clubs.

One team exited in the first round (St. Patrick’s Athletic), two in the second round - Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers (losing in Champions League and then Europa Conference League qualifiers). Derry City were unlucky not to knock Tobol out in Tallaght last week but ultimately exited losing a penalty shootout in the third qualifying round.

Looking at the hard facts of the UEFA coefficient, how did our teams do and how does it compare to recent seasons and what does it mean for the draws to come?

Scoring system

The coefficient is calculated in the qualifying rounds (including play-off rounds) by adding up the results for each team, with every match win earning one point and a draw is worth half a point.

In the group stages, those points are doubled – so Shamrock Rovers’ two draws in the Europa Conference League group stage last year were worth the equivalent of two wins in the qualifiers.

The total is then divided by the number of clubs participating from that country (four clubs from the League of Ireland). The overall country league ranking is based on adding up the last five season’s coefficients.

2023/24 coefficient

Having earned 56% of Ireland’s coefficient points last year, Shamrock Rovers earned none this year having lost all four of their matches. St. Patrick’s Athletic lost both of their games and so neither club added anything to the coefficient this year.

Between other two LOI clubs, they earned four wins and four draws with Dundalk getting a win and two draws and City three wins and two draws.

So overall the League of Ireland earned 6 points [4(1) + 4(0.5)] giving an average coefficient of 1.5 [6/4] – the worse coefficient score since 2018/19.

Five year coefficient

The overall UEFA coefficient is based on five years of results. Six seasons ago the LOI clubs earned only 1.0 and so that score will be discounted this year replaced by this season’s average coefficient of 1.5. 

  1. 2023/24          1.5 (37th currently)
  2. 2022/23          3.375 (31st)
  3. 2021/22          2.875  (32nd)
  4. 2020/21          1.875 (34th)
  5. 2019/20          1.25 (44th)
  6. 2018/19          1.0 (47th)
  7. 2017/18          1.125 (42nd)

Five year total         10.875

Qualifying round entry points

Ireland are currently ranked 37th this season and over the crucial five year period 32nd overall in Europe but teams just below Ireland have clubs still in Europe including Kosovo, Kazakhstan (two clubs), Finland and the Faroe Islands (who are guaranteed group stage football).

Being in the top 38 should mean that the FAI Cup winners (subject to them not winning the double) will enter the Europa Conference League second qualifying round guaranteeing them €450,000 at a minimum and requiring only to win three ties to make the group stages.

The revised competition proposal for future seasons would see one Irish team start in the Europa League first qualifying round if we are ranked 33 or higher (up to 16). This would mean should the team lose they would drop into the Europa Conference League second qualifying round.