Concacaf General Secretary Chuck Blazer is unhappy with the allocation of spots for the 2014 World Cup Finals. Or at least we are supposed to believe he is. So murky are the politics of FIFA things are often not as they seem and it is difficult to know when the consuming public are being played like a cheap guitar.
The spots allocated for 2014 are as follows:
CONMEBOL 5.5 (including Brazil as host)
But once we get past the rhetoric the assessment of whether or not the allocation of spots is “fair” is reasonably straight forward.
The format for the 1986 World Cup Finals in Mexico reverted to a multiple knock stage after the an initial group stage so that seems to be a logical starting point.
Here are a series of summaries of qualification by Federation at various stages since 1986.
|WCF Qualifiers (inc. Hosts)|
UEFA was the main benefactor prior to 1998 when the Finals increased from 24 teams to 32 teams. Up to that point UEFA had received over 50% of the allotted spots. Although UEFA did receive more slots in 1998 the increase in % terms was minimal compared to the others and in particular Africa, Asia, and Concacaf.
A reasonable measure of the overall strength of each Federation would appear to be the % of the entrants from each that made it to the knock out stage.
The Oceania numbers need to be placed in context of limited numbers and the subsequent move by Australia from that Federation to Asia after the 2006 World Cup Finals.
Considering the last 16 here is the make up by World Cup Finals and by number of countries by Federation followed by another chart showing the % of qualifiers against each World Cup Finals number of entrants.
|Last 16 #
|Last 16 %
Based on the tables detailed above Blazer would appear to have a case that CONCACAF has been short-changed but not at the expense of CONMEBOL but rather by Africa and particularly Asia. But just to add a wrinkle to such a straight forward assessment it is worth looking at how Federations fair when they receive additional spots.
To take the data one step further here is the same information but narrowed to the last eight rather than 16.
|Last 8 %|
By narrowing the stats to the last 8 the Africa and CONCACAF numbers align.
So did FIFA get the 2014 allocation correct or did they screw it up? If you are a promoter of the concept that the World Cup Finals should only be the best 32 teams in the world then going hand-in-hand is that UEFA and CONMEBOL should actually receive more spots rather than less.
Thoughts on these statistics?
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