List of association football clubs playing in the league of another country

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There are a number of football clubs around the world that are based in one country/territory but play in another's football league. Conditions for competing in a "foreign" league, as well as in a continental/confederational competition, are set case-by-case by FIFA as well as the respective confederation and national football associations involved.

Clubs which are located in defunct nations that merged with others, new nations separated from others, or which stopped competing in a nation's league system because their locale was transferred to another nation, are not included in this article.

United Kingdom and Ireland[edit]

As a result of the history of football in the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom has four FIFA member countries instead of one. Clubs that play outside what would be regarded as their 'home country' include:

England / Scotland[edit]

EnglandScotland : English in Scotland

ScotlandEngland : Scottish in England

England / Wales[edit]

EnglandWales : English in Wales

  • In addition, Deva Stadium, home to Chester and previously to the defunct Chester City, straddles the England-Wales border, and its entire pitch is in Wales (though the club offices, which are part of the stadium complex, are in England).

WalesEngland : Welsh in England

Although all the above clubs play in the English football league system and are allowed to compete in the FA Cup, Wrexham, Colwyn Bay and Merthyr Town are under the jurisdiction of the Football Association of Wales for disciplinary and administration purposes. Swansea City, Cardiff City and Newport County previously had the same governance until an arrangement was made with the FA for the 2011–12 season onwards which sees Welsh clubs playing in the top four divisions of English football under the governance of the FA.[2]

Cardiff City (1921–29, 1952–57, 1960–62 and 2013–14) and Swansea City (1981–83 and 2011–present) have played in the top division of English football (currently the Premier League). Cardiff City are also the only non-English side to have won the FA Cup, winning it in 1927; they again reached the final in 2008, prompting the English FA to change the rules to allow Welsh clubs to represent England in UEFA competitions should they qualify to do so.[3] Swansea City won the 2012–13 Football League Cup, and are the first Wales-based club to qualify for a European competition through a place reserved for the English Football Association.

The following Welsh clubs have also played in the English football league system:

The following defunct Welsh clubs also played in the English league system:

Until 1995, the above clubs were allowed to participate in the Welsh Cup, and represented Wales in the Cup Winners' Cup if they won. Clubs playing in those parts of England close to the Welsh border could also play in the Welsh Cup by invitation, but could not represent Wales if they won.

Republic of Ireland / Northern Ireland[edit]

Northern IrelandRepublic of Ireland : Northern Irish in the Republic of Ireland

  • Two different clubs bearing the name Derry City have played in the Republic of Ireland football league system:
    • The original club, founded in 1928, played in the Northern Ireland football league system until 1972, when it was expelled from the Irish Football League due to issues related to The Troubles. The club then spent 13 years without a league until being admitted to the second level of the League of Ireland in 1985. Two years later, they earned promotion to the League of Ireland's first level, and continued there until their expulsion in 2009 for financial mismanagement. The club was dissolved shortly thereafter.
    • A new Derry City club, which considers itself to be a continuation of the original, was founded in January 2010, and was admitted to the second level of the League of Ireland starting with that season. They returned to the top flight at the first opportunity by winning the First Division title.

Derry City have won the league titles of both Northern Ireland (1964–65) and the Republic of Ireland (1988–89, 1996–97), and also the cup titles of both Northern Ireland (1948–49, 1953–54, 1963–64) and the Republic of Ireland (1988–89, 1994–95, 2002, 2006, 2012), and have represented both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in European club competitions.

Guernsey / England[edit]

GuernseyEngland : Guernsey in England

The Guernsey Football Association has no international recognition; it has county status with the English Football Association.

Continental Europe[edit]

Andorra / Spain[edit]

AndorraSpain : Andorran in Spain

Austria / Germany[edit]

AustriaGermany : Austrian in Germany

  • SV Kleinwalsertal has played in Germany since the 1960s, playing in the tier twelve B-Klasse Allgäu 6 in 2011–12.[5]

Cyprus / Greece[edit]

CyprusGreece : Cypriot in Greece

From 1967 to 1974, the champion of the Cypriot First Division was promoted to the Greek First Division.

Finland /Sweden[edit]

FinlandSweden : Finnish in Sweden

All clubs are based in the Åland Islands, an autonomous region of Finland with an ethnic Swedish population.

France /Spain[edit]

SpainFrance : Spanish in France

France / Switzerland[edit]

Germany / Switzerland[edit]

GermanySwitzerland : German in Switzerland

Italy / Switzerland[edit]

ItalySwitzerland : Italian in Switzerland

SwitzerlandItaly : Swiss in Italy :

  • FC Chiasso played in the Italian league system between 1914 and 1923.

Liechtenstein / Switzerland[edit]

LiechtensteinSwitzerland : Liechtensteiner in Switzerland

All clubs in Liechtenstein play in the Swiss football league system, as Liechtenstein has no properly recognized league of its own. These clubs also compete in the Liechtenstein Football Cup, which is effectively the championship of Liechtenstein, with the winner representing Liechtenstein in the UEFA Europa League. Liechtenstein clubs do not play in the Swiss Cup, and are not eligible for qualification to European competitions via the Swiss league system.

Monaco / France[edit]

MonacoFrance : Monegasque in France

San Marino / Italy[edit]

San MarinoItaly : Sammarinese in Italy

The home league of San Marino was established only in 1985. Before that year, other Sammarinese teams have competed in the Italian system, though only San Marino Calcio is allowed to take part in the system and also to Coppa Italia exclusively:

Russia / Ukraine[edit]

UkraineRussia : Ukrainian in Russia

The three clubs are from Crimea, a territory recognized by Ukraine and a majority of countries as part of Ukraine, but have been under effective Russian control as the Republic of Crimea since the 2014 Crimean crisis. FC Sevastopol and SC Tavriya Simferopol last played in the 2013–14 Ukrainian Premier League, and were dissolved after the completion of the season. The three clubs joined the Russian Professional Football League starting from the 2014–15 season, after approval from the Russian Football Union.[6] The inclusion of Crimean clubs in Russian competitions have not been approved by either FIFA or UEFA, and the Football Federation of Ukraine have lodged a complaint.[7] On 22 August 2014 UEFA decided "that any football matches played by Crimean clubs organised under the auspices of the Russian Football Union will not be recognised by UEFA until further notice",[8] and on 4 December 2014, decided to prohibit Crimean clubs to play in competitions organised by the Russian Football Union as from 1 January 2015 and for the region to be considered as a “special zone” for football purposes until further notice.[9]


Morocco / Western Sahara[edit]

Western SaharaMorocco : Western Saharan in Morocco


Many North American sports leagues are made up of teams from different countries—three of the four largest professional leagues have teams representing cities on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. This phenomenon can also be seen in soccer leagues. Although foreign clubs can and do participate in leagues based in the United States, no such team is eligible to participate in the U.S. Open Cup, which is only open to teams affiliated with the United States Soccer Federation (U.S. Soccer). They are also not eligible to represent the United States in the CONCACAF Champions League. Those teams that do participate in U.S. leagues also participate in various competitions under their local federations to gain entry into the Champions League.

Antigua and BarbudaUnited States : Antiguan and Barbudan in the United States

  • Antigua Barracuda FC played in USL Pro (the league now known as the United Soccer League) from 2011 to 2013. The team was forced to play its entire 2013 schedule on the road due to issues with its home stadium, normally a cricket ground, and folded after that season.

BermudaUnited States : Bermudian in the United States

CanadaUnited States : Canadian in the United States
Major League Soccer (MLS) and the current North American Soccer League (NASL) are based in the United States, but occupy the top levels of both the American and Canadian soccer pyramids.

The top five professional clubs in Canada (Toronto FC, Montreal Impact, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, FC Edmonton, and Ottawa Fury FC) contest the Canadian Championship for the Voyageurs Cup to determine Canada's entrant into the CONCACAF Champions League.

As in the men's game, the women's soccer pyramid contains leagues that operate on both sides of the border. The current top level, the National Women's Soccer League, operates solely in the U.S., although it receives financial backing from all three North American federations (U.S. Soccer, Canadian Soccer Association, Mexican Football Federation). One of the second-level leagues, the USL W-League, had six Canadian members—K-W United, Laval Comets, London Gryphons, Ottawa Fury Women, Quebec City Amiral, and Toronto Lady Lynx at its height before folding following the 2015 season.

Puerto RicoUnited States : Puerto Rican in the United States

Asia & Oceania[edit]

China / Hong Kong[edit]

ChinaHong Kong : Mainland Chinese in Hong Kong

Singapore / Malaysia[edit]

SingaporeMalaysia : Singaporean in Malaysia

MalaysiaSingapore : Malaysian in Singapore

Singapore / Australia[edit]

AustraliaSingapore : Australian in Singapore

Brunei / Malaysia[edit]

BruneiMalaysia : Bruneian in Malaysia

Brunei / Singapore[edit]

BruneiSingapore : Bruneian in Singapore

  • DPMM FC play in the S.League, starting in 2009, after getting kicked out the Malaysia Super League for the 2009 season (see below). They were also invited to take part in the Singapore Cup in 2007. Since the FIFA ban on the Brunei FA in 2009, DPMM FC have suspended their participation and resumed it only in 2012.

Foreign & Satellite teams in Singapore[edit]

Besides DPMM FC, a number of "foreign" teams have also played in the S.League. These clubs, while playing their home games in Singapore, are either satellite teams of foreign clubs or are made up exclusively of foreign players:

As of 2011, only Albirex Niigata Singapore FC and Etoile FC play in the S.League. The foreign teams are not allowed to represent Singapore in AFC club competitions such as the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup. Moreover, due to the presence of foreign teams in the S.League, the AFC does not allow S.League teams to participate in the AFC Champions League since 2011.[10]

In recent years, foreign clubs from other countries have also been invited to participate in the Singapore Cup.

Malaysia / Australia[edit]

MalaysiaAustralia: Malaysian in Australia

Australia / New Zealand[edit]

New ZealandAustralia : New Zealand in Australia

As New Zealand is a member of OFC and Australia is a member of AFC since moving from OFC in 2006, Wellington Phoenix are playing in the league of a member of another football confederation. As per agreement with FIFA, AFC and OFC, Wellington Phoenix are not allowed to participate in the AFC Champions League.[11] They also do not participate in the OFC Champions League, as New Zealand is represented by clubs from its football league, the New Zealand Football Championship. Wellington Phoenix are the only extant professional football team in New Zealand; the New Zealand Football Championship is amateur. The reserve team of Wellington Phoenix will play in the 2014–15 New Zealand Football Championship.[12]

Note that it is not uncommon for New Zealand teams to play in Australian professional sports leagues—the National Rugby League (rugby league) and National Basketball League both have one team from New Zealand, and the Women's National Basketball League had a New Zealand team in the 2007–08 season (the men's basketball league also formerly included a team from Singapore). This phenomenon is most pronounced in rugby union and netball. The Super Rugby competition, a joint enterprise between the governing bodies of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, has had five teams each from Australia and New Zealand since 2011. The ANZ Championship in netball has featured five teams each from Australia and New Zealand since its formation in 2008.



  1. ^ Conn, David (12 November 2009). "Premier League clubs reject Old Firm but consider expansion". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  2. ^ Scott, Matt (6 May 2011). "Football Association breaks Welsh jurisdiction over Cardiff and Swansea". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  3. ^ FA approves Cardiff for Uefa Cup
  4. ^ a b c d Twydell, Dave (5 November 2001). Denied F.C.: The Football League Election Struggles. Harefield: Yore Publications. p. 24. ISBN 1-85983-512-0. 
  5. ^ BK Allgäu 6 BFV website, accessed: 29 July 2011
  6. ^ "Crimean clubs to play in Russian second division from next season". Inside World Football. 13 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Ukraine crisis: Russia's claim on Crimea's football clubs". BBC Sport. 15 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "UEFA Emergency Panel decision on Crimean clubs". 22 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "UEFA Nations League format and schedule confirmed". 4 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Singapore seek to pull out of ACL
  11. ^ Ad hoc Committee for Professional Clubs
  12. ^ "Phoenix reserve team to play in national league". 22 August 2014.