Andorra don't have much choice...

7 teams that we can’t believe play their domestic football in another country

It’s a rare quirk that’s often brushed over, but there are a number of football clubs worldwide who are based in one country, but are playing in the league of another.

For a multitude of reasons not limited to politics, geographical quirks, bizarre historical context and even simply for the sake of it, clubs continue to find themselves defying boundaries and borders and it’s endlessly fascinating.

There are the obvious offenders – Cardiff, Swansea, Wrexham and Newport – but we haven’t included those in a bid to make things a little more interesting. Read on to expand that largely useless football knowledge, so that you’re prepared for that one pub quiz about three years from now.

The New Saints

While most of the time the story follows a Welsh team playing in the English football pyramid, The New Saints are an interesting case.

Founded in 1959, TNS are a joint Welsh-English side that represents both the Welsh town Llansantffraid and the English town Oswestry. They played in the Welsh town until their 2003 merger with Oswestry Town.

After a few cloudy years involving name changes and other legalities, the team now known as The New Saints moved into Park Hall Stadium in the English town of Oswestry.

Despite still playing there, they remain in the Welsh football pyramid and are the most successful club within the system, having won the Cymru Premier 16 times.

TNS have also flirted with European competition regularly, too, popping up in both the Champions League and Europa League qualifying rounds.

Berwick Rangers

Formed back in 1881, Berwick Rangers play in the English town of Berwick, which sits just four kilometres south of the Anglo-Scottish border.

The town was regularly the subject of historical border wars between England and Scotland and regularly switched between the two countries as a result.

Berwick has officially been an English town since the 15th Century, but many from the town feel a close affinity to Scotland, which goes some way in explaining why Berwick Rangers play their football in the Scottish system.

Berwick Rangers play their football in the Lowland Football League, a step below the Scottish League Two.

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One you’ll probably know all about, Monaco is one of the most successful clubs in French football history, despite not actually being French.

Eight-time Ligue 1 winners, Monaco have been involved with the French Football Federation ever since they became professional in the early 1930s, and have never sought to break away due to the fact that the principality of Monaco doesn’t actually have a domestic league of its own.

As a result, they also represent France in European competitions.

Strangely, the principality of Monaco does actually have a national football team, but it is not a member of FIFA or UEFA and thus only plays friendlies and unrecognised competitions against nations, unrecognised states and similar organisations on an infrequent basis.

FC Andorra

In a similar position to Monaco, FC Andorra plays within the Spanish Football Federation despite being a side from the microstate of Andorra, an independent principality on the border of Spain and France.

FC Andorra also happen to affiliate themselves with the Catalan Football Federation and their kit is comprised of the colours of the Andorran flag.

Three-time winners of the Copa Catalunya – a cup competition organised by the Catalan Football Federation – they’ve been owned by Gerard Pique’s Kosmos Holding Group since late 2018.

Next season will see them play in Spain’s third tier, after being relegated from the Segunda Division following a two-year stay in the second tier.

Wellington Phoenix

Another slightly more popular side, Kiwi club Wellington Phoenix have played in the Australian A-League since their 2007 formation, being granted a licence to do so by the Australian Football Federation, despite being based in New Zealand.

The Nix play their home games in the 34,500-seater Wellington Regional Stadium in New Zealand’s capital city.

Their women’s team was formed in 2021 and also plays in the Australian system, officially becoming the first professional women’s football team from New Zealand.

The men’s side finished A-League runners-up in 2023-24, the highest finish in their history.

No side from New Zealand has ever won the A-League men, but the chances will increase next season when a second New Zealand-based club – Auckland FC – make their debut.

Anzhi Makhachkala and FC Dnipro.

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Derry City

Based in – you guessed it – Derry, Northern Ireland, Derry City are the only team from the north to play in the League of Ireland – the official top flight of the Republic of Ireland.

It’s an interesting one, because Northern Ireland does actually have its own football pyramid including a league system and a domestic cup, with potential to play European qualifying games.

Despite this, Derry City have played in the LOI ever since the division was restructured to include lower leagues in 1985.

Before that was a painful 13-year period where they were effectively forced into amateur status, having been kicked out of their Brandywell stadium due to the Troubles and being unable to compete at a professional level while trying to make it work with a ground some 48km away from them.

Derry City remain the only side in LOI history to have won a domestic treble, doing so in 1989.


To give them their full name, Duli Pengiran Muda Mahkota Football Club are a side based in Brunei, a country in Southeast Asia, surrounded by Malaysia on the island of Borneo.

Got that? Good, because it gets more confusing when you learn that DPMM do not play their football in Brunei, Malaysia or even on the island of Borneo at all – but across the way in Singapore.

DPMM played in the Brunei Premier League in the early 2000s, enjoying plenty of domestic success before packing their bags and joining the Malaysian system in 2005, entering the second tier.

They were forced to leave the system by 2009 due to rule changes and subsequently joined the Singapore football pyramid.

They served a 20-month ban in 2009 for government interference in the club’s activities and have since then won the Singapore top flight, left the system to return to Brunei, only to re-join the Singapore system once again in 2023. Go figure.