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Gus Keri

A life-long Liverpool fan who resides in New York City and also supports the New York Red Bulls.


FIFA Ranking: Is It Time For Another Revision? (Part II)

Written by on February 17, 2011 | 2 Comments »
Posted in World Cups

In the first part, I talked about the way FIFA assign points for every match. In this part, I will explain how they calculate the total points’ scores that decide the ranking position of each nation.

For every country, FIFA average all the points that are gained over the last 12 months. If a team played 10 games in the last 12 months, they will add together all the points gained during this period and divide the total by 10.

Then they will do the same of the previous three years. In total, 4 years results are taken into consideration.

The value of each year’s points will undergo depreciation according to this formula:

100% of the points gained in the most recent 12 months’

50% of points from the second 12 months

30% of the third 12 months

20% of the fourth 12 months

Then, you add all the resulting points together to form the “overall total points” and this will decide the placement on the ranking table.

As you can see the most depreciation takes place after the first year where 50% of the value is lost.

If you review the February ranking you can see that the African teams are the ones which showed the most dramatic tumbles.

This happened because the points that were gained in January 2010, due to the African cup of nations, have been reduced to 50%.

In addition to Egypt, Algeria dropped 19 places, Gabon 21 places and Nigeria 8 places.

Likewise, last July, most of the CONCACAF teams lost significant ground due to the depreciation of the Gold Cup results in June 2009, except the USA and Mexico because their participation in the World Cup 2011 prevented such drop.

For example, Canada dropped 37 places and Panama 20 places and El Salvador 18 places. All occurred overnight.

Why should the Ghana team, which was by far the best African team in the world cup 2010 and which played in the final game of African Cup of Nations against Egypt, wait until this month to reach the summit of Africa.

I believe that the large depreciations that take place each year can be changed to a more gradual depreciation.

Instead of 50% depreciation in the first year, for example, we can introduce a depreciation of 4% applied each time the ranking table updates are being performed, which usually take place every month.

For the following years, instead of additional 20% for the second year, we can introduce a 2% monthly depreciation, then after that 1% until the end of 4 years period.

This protocol will guarantee a gradual descending of the team on the ranking table and we wouldn’t see such a drastic alteration of the schedule. And Ghana would have been the top ranked African team much sooner.

The downside of this method is the fact that it takes a lot of work every month. But in the age of very advanced and sophisticated computer programming, this problem can be easily resolved.

What do you think?

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2 responses to “FIFA Ranking: Is It Time For Another Revision? (Part II)”

  1. Bryan says:

    I can’t believe you put as much thought and effort as you did into that Gus!

    In the end it doesn’t matter what system is used ,it’s always going to be flawed.

    Reminds me of the golf world rankings (not that I pay any attention to golf ,other than the bits you get on SSN).
    At the end of last year Lee Westwood was guaranteed to be the world No.1 IF he missed the last tournament ,whereas if he played he had to finish in a certain position.

  2. Gus Keri says:


    I agree that each system has its flaws. There is no perfect system.

    This is an attempt at bringing the FIFA ranking closer to being more representative of the ranks of nations at a certain time.

    I know that many people don’t like to have the ranking at all. I have a different opinion on that. I believe it’s good for the game.

    It brings nations together in an era where the world is openning to each other like no other time in history.

    Because there are many variables included in the calculation, there is always a room for improvement. I would rather work on improving the system than getting rid of it.

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