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#61 [url]

Oct 30 14 12:17 AM

UEMOA and CEMAC Cups coming up soon (November 22 for UEMOA, November 30 for CEMAC).

Let's see if FIFA counts these (CHAN) matches as A matches. They didn't count them in the last few years (not sure why).

I've sent them the schedule for the UEMOA Tournament in Togo. I have a funny feeling both of these tournaments are 'not authorised by CAF' or something similar.

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#62 [url]

Nov 3 14 9:49 AM

I confess I don't understand FIFA's criteria. CHAN is clearly a restrictive competition, whose matches shouldn't be regarded as full "A" international.
Then, why don't they regard as full official also the African matches valid for the 1984 and 1988 Olympic qualifiers? There weren't restrictions for the Africans, who could field their best teams.

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#63 [url]

Nov 3 14 2:50 PM

FIFA's criteria, unfortunately, are subject to the limitations of those people who work for it (who don't necessarily understand football), and also, changes in staff over the years. Unfortunately, changes made do not always apply retrospectively, or even in a contemporaneously consistent manner. The end result is a disjointed record of results - FIFA keeps a record of all the matches (even those that have been removed for reasons such as too many subs, lack of authorisation, etc.), but nobody else can see these matches - so technically, these records are like books in a library with no means of entry. The only way to combat this is to keep records ourselves. It's quite possible in a number of years from now, that FIFA will finally realise the value of a decent and consistent database of international results. At that time, all the amateur record-keepers will become invaluable to FIFA, and they will offer us all 10 Euro and a FIFA calendar to help save them from implosion.

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#64 [url]

Nov 3 14 5:10 PM

This is basically what they already did to get their current database. Rather than do some historical research themselves, or fund people to do it, they will wait until some higher authority in the building authorises them to quickly buy up any database out there.

They might be intelligent enough to realise that accuracy does not really matter for FIFA - 99% of people will simply believe that FIFA's version is the most authoritative -  and therefore they do not need to do a better job. 
It is enough for them simply to have a database (any database).  It is not necessary to work to improve it, from their point of view.  Indeed, if anything, it would make them look less authoritative, if they had to highlight the fact that there is much missing or unknown.  They don't want a "work in progress".

FIFA's database, however bad, is inherently definitive.  And that's the way they like it.   Only few of us know the actual truth.

Counting CHAN matches but discounting Olympic matches is just one of many examples of fundamental inconsistency and self-contradiction.
Also the lack of inclusion of hundreds of historical matches involving African, Asian and Caribbean national teams (many of which were indeed listed as full internationals in FIFA News magazine at the time) is virtually a form of discrimination. Similarly the clear barrier FIFA has imposed towards historical Asian and African players with 100+ caps being included in the "Century Club" is also virtual discrimination.

But I won't actually accuse them of active discrimination because I don't think they ever had the intelligence.  They are just lazy and incompetent, which causes a kind of passive discrimination.

Last Edited By: nfm24 Nov 3 14 5:18 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#65 [url]

Nov 3 14 5:47 PM

is it FIFA's goal to have such data , they have other priorities : organising football on this planet

but if they have data, they had to make clear they are incomplete and people should look otherwhere to find this kind of information...

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#66 [url]

Nov 3 14 6:05 PM

pieter wrote:
but if they have data, they had to make clear they are incomplete and people should look otherwhere to find this kind of information...

Nowadays it is big business to make sure people come to your website and stay there, and also click your sponsors etc.
So it would not be in FIFA's interests to "admit defeat" on the historical record-keeping and instead point towards an outside database run by amateurs, such as RSSSF or Wikipedia even.

pieter wrote:
is it FIFA's goal to have such data , they have other priorities : organising football on this planet

We have other priorities too, and we are not professionals.  It would be a lot easier for everybody if FIFA did a better job with historical record keeping.  If they can organize the matches, they can write them down.  And they did (in FIFA News magazine) but left them in a dusty cupboard instead of using their own records to make their own database.

FIFA has a whole department to deal with match authorization, match data checking etc, and another department to deal with updating the website and rankings.    But this deals only with "live" matches happening now or very recently.   And even these departments are basically inadequate and have to contract outsiders to do most of the hard work for them.   Indeed FIFA visits the Roon Ba every day.

FIFA put a lot of effort into current data because (a) it is necessary for the ranking and (b) because 99.9% of their audience (customers) is interested in current matches only.  Only very few of us are interested in the Martinez Shield from 1928, for example, and indeed it takes more effort to find that than to find current matches.

Last Edited By: nfm24 Nov 3 14 6:07 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#67 [url]

Nov 3 14 10:52 PM

nfm24 wrote:

.....It would be a lot easier for everybody if FIFA did a better job with historical record keeping.  If they can organize the matches, they can write them down.  And they did (in FIFA News magazine)........

.......and in the various FIFA bullettins which are not very consistent and also full of errors. From the 1953 magazines (including matches from 1951) until 1990 a match was reported official A if the home regard this as such. So we can get this silly situation i.e. a Luxembourg vs Belgium B match is regarded as official A, but a Belgium B vs Luxembourg as official B. In 1974 a first leg European U-23 Championships match Netherlands vs Hungary is listed as A-international. Matches notably played by club teams (as i.e. Rotor Volgograd) are listed as A-internationals. So even these magazines are quite messy.

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#68 [url]

Nov 3 14 11:30 PM

Sure, they would still need to be scrutinized. But the errors such as you mention are not worse or more common than the errors they have now in the website database.

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#69 [url]

Nov 4 14 8:38 AM

I agree. Well, if FIFA will decide to make their data as correct as possible they can start some discussions we have made already here  as well as on this topic. Even though most of us at this forum will agree on many points, there still will be room for a lot of discussion.

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#70 [url]

Nov 4 14 1:42 PM

But those kind of discussions are about forming some universal "common sense" approach. Whereas FIFA is bound by its rules. Whatever the rules were in place at the time, should be used to decide which matches are A for FIFA. Unless now FIFA makes another rule which has impact on historical matches.

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#71 [url]

Nov 4 14 7:41 PM

In a lovely little neat world, all FAs would send all their results (domestic and international) to FIFA, electronically or otherwise. They all have internet access, they all have employees. Then nobody would have to bother running around searching for information and could concentrate on more important things.

I fear that The Enlightenment will not help in this case, as people will be too enlightened for such frivolity as sports and their associated statistics.  We will all be too busy connecting with the universe and suchlike.

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#73 [url]

Nov 23 15 7:06 PM

2014 CHAN teams

Feb 2014 ranking (Jan 2014 ranking) difference in ranking

LIBYA 523 (552) -29
GHANA 733 (851) -118
NIGERIA 616 (701) -85
ZIMBABWE 330 (312) +18
MALI 561 (703) -142
MOROCCO 454 (486) -32
DR CONGO 373 (439) -66
GABON 386 (421) -35
BURUNDI 234 (230) +4
CONGO 393 (421) -28
UGANDA 400 (413) -13
SOUTH AFRICA 550 (576) -26
MOZAMBIQUE 251 (256) -5
MAURITANIA 127 (161) -34
ETHIOPIA 329 (361) -32
BURKINA FASO 554 (566) -12

As you can see - CHAN teams lost a combined total of 635 points because they qualified for the CHAN finals. Mali were the WORST MOVER of the entire FIFA ranking (down 19 positions), even though they reached the quarter-finals and lost only once. All because FIFA counts them as friendly matches. If they are A matches, they should be given the same status as the Cup of Nations matches.

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#74 [url]

Nov 23 15 9:37 PM

Well two wrongs could make a "right", or at least an improvement. I suppose FIFA has only three categories: World championship, Continental championship, Friendly.
This effectively means that the CHAN Final is given the same status as any old piffling close-season friendly between Guatemala and Moldova with 14 subs on each team.

Since decisions that FIFA takes on matters such as ranking weightings can have serious financial implications, they are not just misleading or dubious, they're actually fraudulent.
Oh well, I'm sure things will be much better in the Post-Blatter Era of Continued Unenlightenment.

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#75 [url]

Nov 24 15 10:19 AM

Triple inconsistency from FIFA, in my opinion:

-They can't be classified as "A" matches because of the strong restrictions in players' eligibility.
-They are not friendlies, as CHAN is an official competition.
-They have begun to count them since the 2014 edition, then why aren't the first 2 editions counted too...?

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#76 [url]

Nov 24 15 11:48 AM

Usually, FIFA find many reasons why they do not recognize a game as an A-international. Fast Midfielder mentioned this many times.

CHAN deliver obviously no A-match-results. Completely contrary to the usual habits, suddenly games of non-A teams are defined to A-internationals.

FIFA needed this for their rankings! They also realised the misguiding development of their rankings reform. Again! … The regulation how the individual continents are classified in the ranking, is performed by the manipulation of Importance factor (and a ‘very special’ processing of numbers).

Example: level of Team A about the same as number 50, Team B number 30. I think it is realistic that all three outcomes of a match have the same probability.

Team A play now always against #50, team B always against #30. Let’s say Team A is an African Team, Team B is from Asia (opponents are always from CONCACAF). Therefore, factor C is in all cases 0,85.
The base points for a match: for team A = M * 150 * 0,85 = 127,5; for team B = M*170*0,85 = 144,5

In all categories (World Cup, Continental Championship, Qualifier, Friendly) there are always 1 win, 1 draw, 1 loss ... (but team B played a second series of friendlies, but also again 1-1-1).The points for the matches (including the weighting coefficient “Importance”) you can see in lines 4 – 18).

This is not a quiz. So you can see in line 3 the calculated ranking points. With I (3-2-1.5-1) Team B is 9 points ahead. If you change I to (3-2.5-2-1) the lead decreases to five points. Target was: Team A should be classified better than team B. With coefficients 4-3-2.5-1 Team A is really ahead …


The ranking points (for a year) are calculated: points total : n (lines 20, 21). In lines 23, 24 you can see what happened. The average performances were always the same (170 team A, 192.67 team B). By the fact that team B played three additional friendlies, the average I-factor was changing in favour for team A.

Then Team A won a friendly …For the first time the average performance increased (176.54), at the same time decreased avg. I (2.625 to 2.5) → Team B was ahead again. So, Team A decided, no longer to play (official) matches (keywords: 7th substitute … Libya …) Huge success! A boost in the rankings – about 100 points up to 538

The only reason for ‘CHAN for FIFA rankings’ was: decreasing the average I-factor (for African teams). Nothing else!

Of course, FIFA found someone from CAF (or another African organisation) who made a request …

BTW, it is correct to weight match results in accordance to their 'importance'. For example, Team A, I-factors 4-3-2,5-1. If they win the four most important matches and lose the most four unimportant ones (other matches draws), they will receive 3 times 1530, 1*1147.5, 2 *382.5 plus 2*318.75 = 7,140 points → … : 31,5 (sum of ‘importance’-coefficients), then about 227 ranking points; more than double as if they win the four most unimportant and lose the four most important matches …

Why don’t FIFA calculate in this way? Then they would lose their tool to ‘manipulate’.

When I heard for the first time that FIFA will consider CHAN matches for their rankings, I expected: at next FIFA will arrange a game Samoa men (at their best time #149 in FIFA rankings) vs. Samoa women. After a 10-0 in a friendly
the blot on the ranking will have less luminosity (because they will lose ranking points).

Last Edited By: ctr Nov 24 15 11:44 PM. Edited 3 times.

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#77 [url]

Nov 24 15 5:06 PM

It is less of a headache is you see FIFA classification of "A" matches as a way to make a ranking, nothing else.

But, are the CHAN teams restrictive? Yes. But in reality nothing else than a league selection. Same logic can be applied to teams like Sweden when they played Botswana. It was a restrictive team as part of an annual winter tour. Denmark treats those differently as they have an official league team (ligalandshold). Sometimes you just don't play with your best men regardless of the restrictions!
I've said it before and still think the different countries should decide for themselves how to classify those matches. Not all are equal and for the likes of Egypt a CHAN selection would make no difference while the likes of Ghana and Nigeria rely heavily on European players.
And no, CHAN doesn't have to be anything else than friendlies in FIFA rankings. The argument of official competition doesn't apply if other competitions like AFF Cup aren't treated as friendlies as well. IMO I always said that friendlies shouldn't be considered for FIFA rankings as it really screws the system and leads to manipulation from many parties.
Finally IMO, this is gonna cause headaches for future statisticians as much as the olympic matches has for us.. - football internationals

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#78 [url]

Nov 24 15 8:17 PM

But if it is only a way to make "a ranking", that is exactly what they will get - "a ranking". Not a good, accurate or meaningful ranking, but just "a ranking". If you include data from Ivory Coast's C team to calculate the ranking of Ivory Coast's A team, for example, you will not get anything decent as an output.

CHAN (unlike AFF) is a continental tournament. The same teams are eligible to enter as the AFCON (all CAF members). If it's not a continental tournament, what is it?

"Sometimes you just don't play with your best men regardless of the restrictions".
That is a different argument. In CHAN qualifiers/finals, you NEVER play with your best men, BECAUSE there are restrictions preventing you from doing so.

Sweden and Denmark using their league team as an A team for friendly matches is up to them (same for African teams using their CHAN team as an A team for friendly matches).

I think friendly matches should be counted - otherwise they will be devalued even more than they are already. If there is absolutely nothing to play for, then why bother playing friendly matches at all? People should be proud to play for their countries - it only happens about 10 or 12 times a year - that's not a lot. The problem is not so much friendly matches being included - it's FIFA's calculation for the ranking system that penalises teams for playing friendlies. Nothing more, nothing less. FIFA's ranking calculations are wrong in so many ways. In addition to this, using "ordinal value" (1st, 2nd, 3rd) as a variable in the calculation, and equating every team below 150th as "150". This is just stupid. Giving weightings to confederations is also stupid. If the ranking worked properly, it wouldn't be needed. If Team A beats Team C 1-0, and Team B beats Team C 1-0, how can you justify giving one of the teams more points simply because of their geographical position? Entirely stupid.

I agree - this CHAN business is going to give future (and present) statisticians headaches. Already, several CHAN friendly matches go unrecorded, and looking at the FIFA website will tell you nothing, as most of them are also not authorised and do not appear. In my opinion, the elevation of CHAN matches to Tier 1 matches was a tactic to increase the importance of the tournament, and CAF would certainly be pushing for this. Also, FIFA gains a certain percentage of receipts from all Tier 1 matches. Previously, CHAN matches were Tier 2, and no money was payable to FIFA.

Last Edited By: TheRoonBa Nov 24 15 8:21 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#79 [url]

Nov 24 15 11:04 PM

TheRoonBa wrote:
FIFA's ranking calculations are wrong in so many ways. In addition to this, using "ordinal value" (1st, 2nd, 3rd) as a variable in the calculation, and equating every team below 150th as "150". This is just stupid.

FIFA tell us the gaps between teams are „linear“ (gap 1 to 20 is the same as the gap 60 to 80). Watch on their rankings!


The curve is similar, what an unrestricted Neil told us elsewhere.
“Two wrongs could make a ‘right’” – yes, that is one of the basic principles of FIFA ranking system. And this principle works - partly. Not all nonsense moves in the same direction!

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#80 [url]

Nov 25 15 12:59 AM

SDb wrote:
the different countries should decide for themselves how to classify those matches.
This is an important point.  But we know that it isn't going to happen, and certainly not in a well-defined way.  Most national FAs do not publish any lists of the matches they consider official/A/full, and many of those who do so show no satisfactory consideration in the process.  Frankly many of them don't have the capacity to make a decent job of it even when they bother to try. 
Even those which have published some kind of list are liable to edit or purge it on a whim, just as they change their websites on a whim (and on a frequency greater than that at which I visit).   So we will be just running in circles trying to catch falling confetti of administrative nonsense, and we will be compelled to follow the ill-informed decisions of inferior beings - just as in any democracy.

Even supposing it does happen, and all African countries choose separately whether they count the CHAN matches or not, and publish that decision clearly.  Then all that has been achieved is to produce another random set of idiosyncratic inconsistencies to add to the pile.  Just as Olympic matches are counted by some and not others (and often without correlation to the actual impact of the restrictions), and even some FAs lumped youth matches in with the seniors, or counted "caps" for matches vs clubs or World XIs.  That is their right to do so, it they want it. 

One could naively propose a very strict view that whenever there is *any* restriction then the match *cannot* be "A", regardless of whether the restrictions actually effect a given country's team makeup.  So all amateur competitions would be deleted, which includes Olympics, Asian Games, SEA Games, early African Nations Cups and so on.    But then someone will say that is too harsh, so they will cherry-pick some to reinstate, and we are back to fudging.   Similar to the IFFHS fudging its criteria (otherwise quite strict) to include England Amateurs for example.
SDb wrote:
Sometimes you just don't play with your best men regardless of the restrictions!
Of course, but there is a freedom of choice.  Self-imposed restrictions on player selection are different to competition-enforced restrictions.

Teams can, at any time, choose to rest their best players, or try some young players, or send a reserve team for whatever reason.  Not just in off-season friendlies but also in competitive games - often, when already eliminated with no chance to qualify, teams will push the "reset" button and go back to another iteration of interminable "development".   Or when they have too many fixtures.
SDb wrote:
Finally IMO, this is gonna cause headaches for future statisticians as much as the olympic matches has for us..
In the future, we will be Enlightened and headaches will be solved in the straightforward way.  And there will definitely be no CHAN.

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