Last updated on December 29th, 2022
Generally, the level of consistency and regularity that teams require to compete for an entire season which may span up to nine months or more, makes club football quite an arduous task.
Most football leagues feature multiple teams competing for domestic honours, contributing to how tough a league is. However, some major leagues are known to provide ‘lower quality’ in world football.
There are 2 extremes in the teams found in the league: on one side, there are a few quality teams; on the other, there are several mediocre teams. Overall, the quality of football in these leagues is usually below average, which affects how their clubs fare against those from other leagues.
This guide will educate you on which leagues are the easiest and least competitive using a set of objective criteria.
What are the easiest leagues in world football?
It is vital to note certain factors contributing to how competitive or uncompetitive a league will be. Apart from the display of teams on the pitch, the factor of money and revenue generation is also quite important. The other factors to consider include dominance of teams, physicality, fan atmosphere, quality of teams, and rivalries in the league.
Here is a breakdown of the different definitions
|Dominance||A highly competitive league does not usually have one or two teams dominating for many years. Leagues where one team always wins the title with a great number of points usually prove to be leagues of low quality. This is true of some of Europe’s top leagues, as well.|
|Physicality||The degree of a league’s toughness also depends on the level of physicality shown in matches. Fast-paced football with full-blooded tackles flying in and players leaving it all on the pitch usually result in greater match intensity. Easier leagues usually have many sides with little to no intensity in their play, leading to lower-quality football.|
|Atmosphere||The atmosphere fans create in and around their teams’ matches also contributes to how easy a league is. In leagues like Italy and Spain, fans see teams as cults while seeing players as cult icons. This drives the levels of support shown during and outside games. In a league where fans do not show much emotional attachment, it is usually quite difficult to categorize the league as difficult to play in.|
|Quality of teams||More than anything, the quality of teams participating in a league affects the classification given to the said league. For instance, we cannot consider a league where only three out of 18 teams are decent as high quality. The degree of a league’s quality depends on the quality of the teams in the league.|
|Rivalries||Football is nothing without rivalries, and matches between rivals are usually of much better quality than regular ones. This means that leagues which have a good number of rivalries are usually much more challenging to play in than those with very few rivalries. Derby matches between rivals help to spice up league football at regular intervals.|
Using the above parameters to judge these leagues, here is a table showing the five easiest leagues and their awarded difficulty scores on a scale of 0 to 10:
|French Ligue 1||6|
|Greek Super League||5|
|Croatian Football League||4|
#5 French Ligue 1
France’s Ligue 1 is one of the easiest leagues to play in world football. In recent years, only one team has dominated the league; Paris Saint-Germain. Economically and by quality, Paris Saint-Germain is far ahead of other French teams.
In the last decade, PSG have won eight league titles, a clear indicator of their dominance in the league. Other French teams have proven to be quite ordinary and, sometimes, below average. In addition, French football has only one high-profile derby between PSG and Olympique Marseille.
The intensity and physicality seen in the French Ligue 1 are quite inferior compared to some other major leagues. Due to this, French clubs are usually at a lower level than their counterparts from other leagues.
However, French stadiums usually have a charged atmosphere, which is evidenced by the staunch following French clubs have. In 2018, there was a case of fans invading the pitch during a match involving Olympique Marseille, showing the level of followership seen in French clubs.
You can find out how Ligue 1 differs from the English Premier League here.
#4 German Bundesliga
Germany’s top flight, Bundesliga, is one of the weakest leagues in world football too. Like the French Ligue 1, this is mainly because one team has long dominated it. In fact, Bayern Munich has won the league 31 out of 59 times, including the last ten seasons in a row.
Aside from Bayern Munich’s brilliance, other German sides vary from being wildly inconsistent to being below average. To present a clearer picture of the gulf in quality between the sides in the league, Bayern Munich has averaged around 80 points over the past five seasons, while the league’s next-best side, Borussia Dortmund, has only managed around 67 points.
Furthermore, rivalries in the German Bundesliga are few and far between, with only two high-profile derbies in the league; Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, and Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04.
In terms of physicality, it is no secret that some of the most highly-rated players in the league struggle when they have to move to a different league.
They struggle to adapt to the intensity and physical requirements of many other leagues, and this causes them to have a decline in performance.
However, the atmosphere in German stadiums is usually electrifying, and this feature adds to the league’s rating. German fans are usually passionate about their teams, with the popular Yellow Wall of Borussia Dortmund a good example.
#3 Greek Super League
Football in Greece revolves largely around 3-4 teams, with other teams struggling around them. In fact, since the commencement of league football in Greece in 1927, only six teams have ever won a league title.
Olympiacos, in particular, has dominated the Greek league with 47 titles in total and 16 of the last 20 league titles. The league has only 14 teams and three real rivalries between Olympiacos, Panathinaikos and AEK Athens.
Regarding the physicality and intensity of football in the league, the Greek Super League is a long way from being near many other leagues in Europe and globally.
However, the stadium atmospheres seen in Greece are undoubtedly electric, with the fans quite invested.
In fact, the home grounds of Olympiakos and PAOK were listed among the 30 most atmospheric in world football by France Football. However, this does not change the fact that the league is among the easiest in the world.
#2 Scottish Premiership
Scotland’s top-flight football league is considered rather easy due to the makeup and quality of teams in it. Essentially, Celtic and Rangers are the only two teams with any sort of pedigree in Scottish football. Since 1985, no team apart from these two has won the league title in Scotland.
Furthermore, teams from Scotland find it very difficult to match up to other teams in terms of intensity and physicality in their games. This means Scottish teams perform quite poorly when they face teams from other leagues.
However, Scottish football fans, especially Celtic and Rangers fans, are among the most fanatical in world football.
The atmosphere at their games is usually quite heated, and this sentiment is shared by World Cup winner and Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos, who revealed how hostile the atmosphere felt when his side took on Celtic in the UEFA Champions League.
#1 Croatian Football League
Many football fans consider the league system in Croatia as the weakest in the developed world. The league started only 30 years ago and has only 10 teams playing in it.
Dinamo Zagreb is currently the champions of Croatia and has won the title 17 times in the last 20 seasons. In addition, the league’s major derby is the Eternal Derby between Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split.
Croatian teams play far inferior football to teams from most other major leagues. They do not have the physicality and intensity to match teams from other major leagues, and it has resulted in their lack of success in continental football.
Croatian football is ranked as the lowest here because the fan atmosphere in their stadiums is quite inferior to those seen in most other stadiums.
Croatian fans are not quite as passionate as those from the other leagues on this list.
Most of these leagues are here due to the lack of competition, where it’s usually a few teams who are very dominant in the league.
You can discover which other leagues are the toughest in the world here.
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