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

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


Britain and IrelandEdit

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

England / ScotlandEdit

Shielfield Park, home of Berwick Rangers, an English club playing in Scotland's national leagues

   : English in Scotland

   : Scottish in England

England / WalesEdit

The New Saints of the Welsh Premier League play at Park Hall in the English town of Oswestry

   : English in Wales

   : 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.[3]

Cardiff City (1921–29, 1952–57, 1960–62, 2013–14 and 2018-) and Swansea City (1981–83 and 2011–18) 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.[4] 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.

Northern Ireland / Republic of IrelandEdit

Brandywell Stadium, home of Derry City, a team located in Northern Ireland and playing in the Republic 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 the 2010 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 / EnglandEdit

   : Guernsey in England

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

Continental EuropeEdit

Andorra / SpainEdit

   : Andorran in Spain

Austria / GermanyEdit

   : Austrian in Germany

  • SV Kleinwalsertal has played in Germany since the 1960s, playing in the tier ten A-Klasse Allgäu 4 in 2016–17.[6]

Bosnia and Herzegovina / FR YugoslaviaEdit

   : Bosnia in FR Yugoslavia

  • FK Borac Banja Luka played in the FR Yugoslav football league system. Technically, the club stayed Yugoslav and continued to participate in Yugoslav competition until 1995, despite Bosnia and Herzegovina having been recognised as independent in 1992.

Cyprus / GreeceEdit

   : Cypriot in Greece

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

Finland / SwedenEdit

   : Finnish in Sweden

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

Georgia / Soviet UnionEdit

   : Georgian in the Soviet Union

  • FC Dinamo Sukhumi played in the Soviet football league system. Technically, the club stayed Soviet and continued to participate in Soviet competition. Concurrently, in Georgia was conducted separate championship and some former footballers from Dynamo Sukhumi created FC Tskhumi in Tbilisi.

Germany / SwitzerlandEdit

   : German in Switzerland

Italy / SwitzerlandEdit

   : Italian in Switzerland

   : Swiss in Italy :

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

Kosovo / SerbiaEdit

   : Kosovar in Serbia
Kosovo is still only a partially recognised state and the government of Serbia still claims the territory as its own. Due to Serbian refusal of Kosovo institutions, Serbs in North Kosovo act independently in sport. For example, the Football First League of North Kosovo was primarily formed of Serbian clubs from four of North Kosovo's municipalities. Both governments agreed upon creating a Community of Serb Municipalities.

In 2016, Kosovo became the 55th member of UEFA, and therefore Football Federation of Kosovo's Football Superleague of Kosovo became a recognised independent league.

From 2010 to 2015, the Football First League of North Kosovo was the top football regional league in North Kosovo, ranked fifth in the Serbian league system. The league was formed primarely of Serbian football clubs that come from four of North Kosovo's municipalities such as Leposavić, Zvečan, Zubin Potok and Northern Kosovska Mitrovica. The league was formed in protest to the establishment of the Kosovo Super League by the Republic of Kosovo; the Serbian clubs from North Kosovo refuse to enter the Republic of Kosovo's institutions as per the Assembly of the Community of Municipalities of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.

There are two other clubs from North Kosovo, which compete in different leagues:

Liechtenstein / SwitzerlandEdit

Rheinpark Stadion, home of FC Vaduz, the only Liechtensteiner team to have ever played top-flight football in Switzerland

   : 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 / FranceEdit

   : Monegasque in France

San Marino / ItalyEdit

   : 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:

Spain / FranceEdit

   : Spanish in France

Ukraine / RussiaEdit

  ( ) →   : 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 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. 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 were reformed as football organizations of the Russian Federation and joined the Russian Professional Football League starting from the 2014–15 season, after approval from the Russian Football Union.[7] 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.[8] 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",[9] 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.[10]


Western Sahara / MoroccoEdit

   : 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 & Barbuda / United StatesEdit

   : 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.

Bermuda / United StatesEdit

   : Bermudian in the United States

Canada / United StatesEdit

   : Canadian in the United States
As of 2018, there are no Canadian based leagues sanctioned in the top two levels of the Canadian soccer league system. As a result, several teams play in the corresponding levels of the American soccer league system.

Several Canadian clubs played in previous incarnations of the NASL, including:

Canada's other MLS teams began fielding USL reserve sides in 2015, but both USL sides have since been folded. FC Montréal was folded by the Impact upon the announcement by Ottawa Fury FC that they would join the USL, with the Fury becoming the Impact's top affiliate. The Whitecaps folded Whitecaps FC 2 after the 2017 season in favor of an affiliation with a new USL side, Fresno FC.

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 both U.S. Soccer and the Canadian Soccer Association, and also had backing from the Mexican Football Federation until that body organized its own women's league in 2017.

In indoor soccer, a variant of the sport that is currently governed by the World Minifootball Federation rather than FIFA, several US-based leagues have had Canadian teams.

Mexico / United StatesEdit

   : Mexican in the United States

No FIFA-sanctioned league has ever had teams on both sides of the Mexico–US border. However, several Mexican teams have played in US-based indoor soccer leagues.

  • The original Monterrey La Raza began play in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL) when the league launched in 1992. When the CISL folded in 1997, the team took a year off and then joined the World Indoor Soccer League (WISL) in 1999. Despite considerable playing success in both leagues, including three league championships, La Raza were expelled from the WISL after their 2000 championship season due to arena issues.
  • The Monterrey Fury began play in the second Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) in 2003. The team folded in 2004, during its second season of play.
  • A new version of the Monterrey La Raza joined the MISL in 2007. When that league folded, La Raza joined the National Indoor Soccer League, which would later become the third MISL. The team folded at the end of the 2009–10 season despite winning the league championship.
  • Toros Mexico, based in Tijuana, joined the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL), known since 2014–15 as the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL), in 2010. The team folded after the 2013–14 season.
  • Two Mexican teams joined the PASL in 2013: the Monterrey Flash and Saltillo Rancho Seco. The Flash went on hiatus after the 2014–15 MASL season and rejoined the MASL for 2017–18. Rancho Seco left the MASL after its 2015–16 season but continues to compete in Mexico's indoor league.
  • Atletico Baja, based in Tijuana, and the Sonora Suns, based in Hermosillo, joined the MASL in 2015. Atletico Baja folded after the 2016–17 season, while the Suns continue to play in the MASL.

Puerto Rico / United StatesEdit

   : Puerto Rican in the United States

Asia & OceaniaEdit

Australia / SingaporeEdit

   : Australian in Singapore

Brunei / MalaysiaEdit

   : Bruneian in Malaysia

Brunei / SingaporeEdit

   : 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 above). 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.

China / Hong KongEdit

   : Mainland Chinese in Hong Kong

Malaysia / AustraliaEdit

  : Malaysian in Australia

Malaysia / SingaporeEdit

   : Malaysian in Singapore

   : Singaporean in Malaysia

New Zealand / AustraliaEdit

Westpac Stadium, home of the Wellington Phoenix, the sole New Zealand team in Australia's A-League

   : 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 began play in the NZ Championship in 2014–15,[12] and have featured in every season since.

Foreign & Satellite teams in SingaporeEdit

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 2016, only Albirex Niigata Singapore 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.

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


  1. ^ Conn, David (12 November 2009). "Premier League clubs reject Old Firm but consider expansion". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  2. ^ League entry denied
  3. ^ Scott, Matt (6 May 2011). "Football Association breaks Welsh jurisdiction over Cardiff and Swansea". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  4. ^ FA approves Cardiff for Uefa Cup
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ AK Allgäu 4 BFV website, accessed: 26 September 2016
  7. ^ "Crimean clubs to play in Russian second division from next season". Inside World Football. 13 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Ukraine crisis: Russia's claim on Crimea's football clubs". BBC Sport. 15 August 2014.
  9. ^ "UEFA Emergency Panel decision on Crimean clubs". 22 August 2014.
  10. ^ "UEFA Nations League format and schedule confirmed". 4 December 2014.
  11. ^ Ad hoc Committee for Professional Clubs[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Phoenix reserve team to play in national league". 22 August 2014.