Which is the fifth in the Big Five of European football leagues?

It’s common to refer to the five biggest European football leagues as the Big Five.

2 Answers

French Ligue 1 is de-facto considered to be in top 5 for several reasons:

  • It is more competitive (stats as of 2017/18 season):
    • French Ligue 1 during Professional Era: 19 teams have won it, 9 winning it 3 or more times
    • Russian Premier League: 8 teams have won it, 6 winning it 3 or more times
    • Dutch Eredivisie during Professional Era : 7 teams have won it, 3 winning it 3 or more times
    • Portuguese Primeira Liga: 5 teams have won it, 3 winning it 3 or more times
  • Average attendance is higher (stats as of 2017/18 season):
    • French Ligue 1 (which has 20 teams): 22,524
    • Dutch Eredivisie (18 teams): 19,001
    • Russian Premier League (16 teams): 13,956
    • Portuguese Primeira Liga (18 teams): 11,967
  • Higher salaries:

    • UEFA report, 2018 (pdf link, page 84):
      UEFA report

    • Daily Mail article, 2014:
      Daily Mail article

  • And finally, probably because France is a bigger player in European and World football as a two-time champion of the World Cup and two-time champion of European Championship whereas the others in question winning only European Championship once. (Although, national team strength does not necessarily imply the strength of its league, at some degree it can be the judging factor why French Ligue 1 is in the top Eureopean Five).

Besides that, the only practical scenario when being in top 5 actually matters is when deciding the winner of prestigious Golden Shoe award:

Golden Shoe is awarded based on a points system where the weightings are determined by the league’s ranking on the UEFA coefficients. Goals scored in the top five leagues are multiplied by a factor of two, so players in tougher leagues have better chances to win.

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