Ajax’ Champions League elimination could benefit Dutch football
Last Wednesday night Ajax failed to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League, by losing hopelessly against the unknown FK Rostov from Russia. After the 1-1 at home in Amsterdam, the away game ended in a devastating 4-1 loss for the Dutch. Because of this, not only did Ajax lose the chance to participate in the lucrative business called the Champions League, some people alleged Ajax did a disservice to all of Dutch football by failing to qualify.
But is this true?
To find out, we first have to take a closer look to the method used for calculating the UEFA coefficient list. Leading element for the allotment of the Champions League and Europa League spots is the country’s place on the UEFA Country Ranking. This ranking is determined based on the average performance of the clubs active in Europa over the last five seasons. A club can collect points by winning or drawing games, but also by reaching the group stage or subsequent rounds.
The Dutch club’s attacking and defensive strength and their opponents is determined based on the current squad and likely line-up. By using the SciSkill Index a total attacking and defensive strength for the team will follow. This results in the following average results in the group stage for the UEFA Coefficient list:
Furthermore, the chance that Ajax will still be active in Europa after the winter break is higher in the current situation (69.31%) compared to the fictive reality where they qualified for the CL group stage (13.47% + 34.55% = 48.02%). So, because of Ajax’s elimination there are more possibilities for the Dutch clubs to score points next calendar year. Losing against FK Rostov is most likely benefiting Dutch football.
The total expected average result is lower in the current situation than the fictive reality. This is directly caused by PSV ending up in a more favourable group with Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Besiktas. This causes their coefficient result to increase almost a full point and their chances of qualifying for the knockout phase of either tournament with 8%. However, since Ajax’ chances of progressing to the knockout phase in the Europa League (and therefore their chances of accumulating extra point) are much higher than in the fictional reality, they have the opportunity to score additional points after the winter break and make up for the lost points in the group stage.
In conclusion, Dutch football is not necessarily worse off with Ajax’ elimination from the Champions League. There are plenty of chances for the club from Amsterdam to collect important points for the UEFA Ranking. Of course, their sporting pride has been hurt and missing out on the lucrative bonuses that come with the CL might affect their performances in the following years and can thus have long term consequences for Dutch football.
Regarding the probability distribution of Ajax’ collected points, you can see that the Europa League has more opportunity to score more points for the UEFA Coefficient ranking. The small peak around 15 points is caused by the small chance (13.47%) that Ajax qualifies for the knockout phase of the Champions League.
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