12 June 2018

Nigeria: FIFA's New Ranking System to Benefit Eagles, Others

Photo: The Guardian
Super Eagles looking stylish.

Following the decision of world football body, FIFA, to overhaul its monthly ranking system to make standing more fair and logical, the Super Eagles and many other nations that have won matches against stronger nations are in position to profit in the new order.

At the end of its technical meeting ahead of the World Cup finals which gets underway this week in Russia, FIFA announced that changes will be made to the way that the world rankings of international teams are calculated, switching to a method that add or subtracts points from a country's total rather than averaging them over a multi-year period.

The new system will ensure that countries with less capability are able to attain good rankings after winning a string of important games or difficult games.

Nigeria football pundits were amazed last November when Eagles dropped in ranking even after securing a massive win over Argentina in an international friendly in Russia.

However, FIFA noted that the new Elo method which was first used in chess and later tennis then in other sports for a number of years and is even involved in calculating the women's world rankings, with a specific version (SUM) developed especially to take into account FIFA's considerations.

FIFA explains: "Teams gain and lose points based on their performance. The number of points gained or lost is a function of the relative strength of the opponents. Thus a weak team beating a strong team gains more points than a strong team beating a weak team. It is a fair and logical concept."

As well as the relative strength of both teams involved, less importance will be given to friendly games when determining the rankings, while more will be given to the major tournaments. Knockout stage matches will also carry more weight than group stage games.

FIFA also explained that teams from all over the world will now have 'equal chance' of rising in rankings after the old weighting variables that favoured European and South American nations has been removed.

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