Liechtenstein- The UEFA affiliated nation without a league.
When Kosovo became UEFA affiliated in 2016 then became the 55th UEFA affiliated nation. Of those 55. There are 54 top flight leagues. Why? Because Liechtenstein are special.
Liechtenstein are ranked a relatively impressive 32nd in the UEFA Country coefficient, above the likes of Hungary and the Republic of Ireland. However, they have the least qualifying spots out of all of the 55 nations. They are allowed 1 entry into the Europa League, that’s it. How do you obtain that spot? Win the Liechtensteiner Cup.
Because Liechtenstein is tiny, with a population of 37810 and a total area of 160 square kilometres, smaller than Glasgow, they don’t really see the point in having their own football league. Instead, Liechtensteiner teams, such as Vaduz and FC Balzers, play in the Swiss Leagues. However, leaving it there would be too simple. The Swiss Leagues don’t treat the Liechtensteiner teams like they do to their own clubs, FC Basel and Grasshoppers to name a couple, but they insist that these Liechtensteiner clubs are in fact not members of the league but ‘guests’ that they allow to play there. This means that, should a Liechtensteiner team win the Super League, no matter how unlikely that may be, they wouldn’t be qualified for the Champions League. For example:
If Vaduz were to finish top of the Super League, with Grasshoppers placing second, and FC Sion in third, Switzerland’s 2 spots in the champions league qualifying stages would go to the latter 2 clubs.
So where do these clubs find themselves today? The only noteworthy entry are Vaduz, who currently sit in the Challenge League, the 2nd tier, after relegation from the Super League in 2017.
USV Eschen/Mauren play in the 4th Tier of Swiss football, and FC Balziers play in the division below. There are also a number of teams below these tiers.
From these league positions you can probably tell that Vaduz kind of dominate the Liechtensteiner Cup. You’re not wrong. They’ve won the cup 46 times out of a possible 73, a world record for the most domestic cup wins by one club, 3 ahead of Northern Ireland’s Linfield. This includes having won 19 of the last 20 tournaments. Thrilling stuff.
This would mean that the only way for a Liechtensteiner club, such as Vaduz, to qualify for the Champions League would be through, aside from, you know, making a league, winning the UEFA Europa League, or the Champions League, should they already be in it. So if we’re being honest, making a league by themselves seems like a far less stressful task.
How have Vaduz coped in the Europa League so far? Not great. Their best ever result is the 3rd Qualifying round, which they most recently accomplished in the 2015/16 campaign, where they eventually lost to FC Thun, a Swiss side.
This Article was originally written on my personal site, fiveattheback.cf, in March 2019