All this debate about whether the A-League needs a finals series made me start thinking about the more important question of whether international football needs finals.
Currently the “best” international team in the world is determined by a cup competition once every four years.
Hence the countries are crowned champions are determined by the team that just so happens to be in form in a month period and is not uncommon for penalty shootouts to influence the outcome instead of the regular game of football in 90 minutes.
So I suggest the following.
We need to scrap the FIFA World Cup and replace it with a ‘World League’ where consistency over a long period of time determines who is the best footballing country in the world.
Whoever finishes first past the post wins the World League and is crowned the best country in the world.
Some people may wonder how can a league like this exist in such a congested international calendar that may interfere with European club football.
The answer to that lies in the CONMEBOL WCQ system. Normally they decide qualification by a home and away match-up between 10 teams in the confederation.
So there are 209 countries in the world. It is then possible to set up 21 divisions of ten teams (the 21st division will have nine teams in the league) which is initially decided by FIFA rankings and have a home and away match-up in every four years.
They will be promotion and relegation based, with the top two teams getting promoted and the bottom two teams relegated.
There will be a play off between the third bottom team and the third best team in the lower division.
The best team in the top division after four years will be crown World Champions.
Of course some people may miss the drama of the cup competition, so there will be two separate ‘cups’.
The Continental Cup which is the same as the Euro, Asia Cup, African Cup Of Nations, Copa America, Gold Cup and so on.
However, qualification is just determined by the top 16 teams from each continent, which is determined by league placing.
The second cup competition will be the FIFA Cup, which is a knockout competition that is involving every 209 countries and is played throughout the four years.
The top 32 sides will have a bye until the round of 64 but other that that, it will be a knock out competition drawn randomly.
So this is what the Spanish National Team played in a competitive matches between 2009 to 2012 (I’m excluding Confederation Cup from the equation as that will be scrapped in my system). They played:
10 World Cup Qualifiers
7 World Cup Matches
8 European Qualifiers
6 European Championship Matches
A Total of 31 competitive matches over four years.
Under my system there will be a maximum amount of matches for a top 32 country:
18 World League Matches (20 if there is a play off for promotion/relegation)
7 Euro Matches
6 FIFA Cup Matches
A maximum total of 31matches, which is not more than what Spain played or 33 matches if the country is involved in a promotion/relegation playoff.
While it may seem like a few extra games, the relegation and promotion matches could replace friendlies.
Therefore this shows that this world league can fit in a calendar without increasing games being played.
This is a fairer ‘first past the post’ system of determining who is the best team in the world.
Only then will International Football will be taken as seriously as major European leagues.
This system will correct any future injustices that robbed the ’74 Dutch team, ’54 Hungarian side and the ’82 Brazilian side’s status as the best in the world, just because they failed in the lottery of a cup competition.