Juve got a real problem if FCK fail this season

The Danish clubs desperately need FC Copenhagen to boost their UEFA co-efficient, but Real Madrid and Juventus stand in their way

In order for Danish football to reap the dividends of the Champions League in the future, both FC Copenhagen and Esbjerg – who start their respective CL and Europa League group stage campaigns on Tuesday and Thursday respectively – must do well this season. However, given the group that FCK have drawn, it is hard to imagine they will advance beyond the group stage, and this could have potentially disastrous consequences. Why you ask? It is all in the numbers.

The UEFA co-efficient is the means by which countries are ranked and this dictates at what stage teams enter European club football competitions, and also crucially the number of teams from each country that will enter.

The potential knock-on effects of a reduced co-efficient are therefore potentially huge for a relatively small country like Denmark. Not only in terms of the financial health of national football as a whole, but also in terms of the talent the Superliga can expect to attract.

In recent years, the co-efficient has not been a problem, as the country’s ranking was boosted significantly by two seasons in particular: 2008-09, when Aalborg BK won one and drew three of their CL group games, and 2010-11, when FCK became the first Danish club to qualify for the last 16 of the CL, where they lost to Chelsea.

Thanks to results like these, the country finished 13th in the 2012 UEFA country rankings, putting its champions in contention for qualification for the group stage, providing the CL champions Bayern Munich qualified for the tournament through their domestic league, which they duly did.

In the UEFA rankings list for 2013 however, which will be used to determine next season’s qualifying, Denmark sit precariously at number 15 – thanks in part to FCN failing to record a win in their group of the CL.

Fast forward to 2014, and the situation could potentially get worse – Denmark only needs to fall one more place to lose one of its places in the 2015-2016 Champion’s League qualification round, in contrast to this year’s two. And although the Danish co-efficient for this year has already risen thanks to FCK’s direct entry into the group stage, poor performances by Randers, Aalborg and FCN have left the country’s two remaining sides with a lot to do. If FCK and Esbjerg fail to do well, the country’s ranking will fall.

In terms of income, the drop from two teams to one is huge. As well as the loss of gate revenues, media earnings and exposure, teams that reach the play-off stages are guaranteed €2.1m irrespective of the result of their ties, while admission to the group stage earns them a minimum €8.6m, before the potential earnings from performance bonuses that stand at €1m for a win and €500,000 for a draw.

Given that FCK will face Juventus, Real Madrid and Galatasaray, maybe the nation’s hopes would be better placed in Esbjerg in the Europa League who have been drawn against Elfsborg, Salsburg and Standard Liege.