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Does international football need a World League?

dasilva Roar Guru

By dasilva, dasilva is a Roar Guru


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    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.

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    The Crowd Says (36)

    • March 6th 2013 @ 3:49am
      Rothbard Smithers said | March 6th 2013 @ 3:49am | ! Report

      You want to get rid of the second biggest cash cow in world sport after the Summer Olympics? Sadly, elite level sports are all about money these days. Sorry, its not going to happen.

      • Roar Guru

        March 6th 2013 @ 9:57am
        Mantis said | March 6th 2013 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        I’ve always been told the World Cup is bigger then the Olympics

        • Roar Guru

          March 6th 2013 @ 12:06pm
          Cameron Kellett said | March 6th 2013 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

          So have I. I am pretty sure viewing wise it is.

    • March 6th 2013 @ 4:12am
      Johnno said | March 6th 2013 @ 4:12am | ! Report

      Honestly the best article I have ever read on the roar. It really cuts to a core about World cups. There are legitiamte arguments that World cups do more harm than good. They have the ability to devalue all other sports events with in the sports.

      And monopilise the summit, rather than share the summit. A bit like Mt Everest. I’m no expert in climbing, but Everest causes alot of problems in recognition for climbers, . Reality is everest is not even the toughest mountain to climb in the world.

      K2 in Pakistan the 2nd highest peak is a much harder climb to do, weather wise, and the mountain itself has more dangerous structures and cravesses, and higher chances of avalanches. Yet everest just coz it’s the highest get’s all the world’s attention, and many other peaks in the world do not.

      -All the eggs in 1 basket too theory.

      -In many ways if I was a player winning a Euro champion’s league is the player’s player tournament, such a highly skilled tournament to win, where at least 16 teams are all very good.

      -But the problem is in the public’s eye it’s all about the world cup and Olympic’s too I might add, but there is so much more to all sports, and here soccer so much more to soccer than the world cup, but all else seems to get overlooked at times.

      But to the robust teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man United, these types of fans there clubs mean more to them and winning the champion’s league and stuff like the FA cup and winning the treble and winning the premiership.

      Also I am so over the World cup qualification process, I wish it was truly the best 32 teams that go the cup according to FIFA rankings, not sharing world expo style jamberee where everyone from each continent is welcome.

      -Best way to do it would be to have the top 128 teams 1 year out from the world cup, enter a 2-legged knockout.

      SO after the 2 rounds about 6-8 months out you are left with 32-teams, and that is the 32 that contest the cup.

      And these matches if you add it up would only be 2 away matches, out of the 4. 2 home, 2 away, so not much big travel, and most players play in Asia or europe anyway so it’s fine.

      For example do not tell me in world cup 2010 , 2010 New Zealand team were a better team than say Belguim, Sweden, Columbia, Turkey, Guss Hiddink’s Russia who made the euro semi’s in 2008, 5 teams for example who were not even at the world cup as being in tougher continents.

      -This exposes the farcical nature of the world cup, it’s not a true world cup as the true 32 best teams, are not even there.

      • March 6th 2013 @ 6:37am
        Johnno said | March 6th 2013 @ 6:37am | ! Report

        Those 5 teams i mentioned didn’t make the world cup as they were in tougher continents, but NZ did. All 5 teams were better than NZ. As I’m sure plenty of other countries were too. Irleand,Ukraine,Norway,Austria,Egypt,Poland, Czech Republic too add some more.

      • March 6th 2013 @ 9:07am
        dasilva said | March 6th 2013 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        My FIFA Cup system
        Pre qualifier = 208 vs 209 in the world (this is to get an even number)

        Round 1 (Top 144 countries gets a bye) 145 to 208 ranking countries participate, 64 countries playing this round

        Round 2 – (Top 144 countries gets a bye) 32 countries playing this round

        Round 3 – (Top 32 countries gets a bye) 16 countries rom previous rounds + 112 countries from rank 33 to 144 in the world participate. Total of 128 countries playing this round

        Round 4 – (Top 32 countries gets a bye) 64 countries from previous rounds playing

        Round of 64 – 32 from previous round + Top 32 teams participate.

        Round of 32

        Round of 16

        Quarter Finals

        Semi Finals


        With a little adjustment (converting the round of 32 to a world cup) it’s pretty similar to youjr system. Although I like a straight knockout

        • Roar Guru

          March 6th 2013 @ 10:00am
          Mantis said | March 6th 2013 @ 10:00am | ! Report

          Too much money for the lower level teams to spend having to play each other, especially when they are playing teams from another continent.

          • Roar Guru

            March 6th 2013 @ 10:18am
            dasilva said | March 6th 2013 @ 10:18am | ! Report

            Considering this is just one legged knock out match I don’t think it’s too much. Considering that in Asia a lot of those low ranking countries play a two series of 2 legged knockout matches to qualify to the group stage. It’s not impossible

            Anyway FIFA has a lot of money

    • March 6th 2013 @ 4:31am
      Minister for Information for the Democratic People's Republic of Football said | March 6th 2013 @ 4:31am | ! Report


    • March 6th 2013 @ 6:26am
      MV Dave said | March 6th 2013 @ 6:26am | ! Report

      Whilst this has some merit eg the 2020 Euros will be spread around European cities instead of all matches held in one country…FIFA will not drop the biggest tournament in World sport, the WC…it is the most watched event on the planet.
      I do like the idea of ridding the game of so many meaningless friendlies however, what about the bigger international teams playing matches in some of the smaller Football countries around the world eg Oz would never see the likes of the biggest countries playing matches here…ala Argentine, England, Brazil etc. it doesn’t happen often but l have seen both Brazil and Argentina play the Socceroos at the MCG. This would never happen under your system?
      Eventually l could see a more regular international club tournament spread over a season with matches between clubs from Europe, South America, Asia, Arica and South America playing off home and away…but not for another decade or so.
      Anyway good ideas to be floated and discussed Das…well done.

      • March 6th 2013 @ 9:08am
        dasilva said | March 6th 2013 @ 9:08am | ! Report

        Under this system, if Australia is good enough and gets promoted ot the top division they can play matches against Argentina and Brazil and England but not just in friendlies ut actual competitive match. Something to aim for.

        Also there is the FIFA cup i mention

    • Roar Guru

      March 6th 2013 @ 7:21am
      Cappuccino said | March 6th 2013 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      You’ve got to be kidding… The World Cup is the biggest single-sport event in the world, and still remains the pinnacle of the footballing world. Replacing it with a league removes the whole romance of a knockout competition. Thankfully, this isn’t going to happen, ever.

      • Roar Guru

        March 6th 2013 @ 9:29am
        dasilva said | March 6th 2013 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        Yes I am kidding

    • March 6th 2013 @ 8:52am
      Dasilva said | March 6th 2013 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      This article is a bit of a (very dry I admit) sarcasm (sort of missing the ha next to the football image). If the drama in the a-league is contrived and the finals is just a money grabber. Why not apply that criticism to the World Cup. It’s theoretically possible for the champions to win the competition without winning a single game.. Of course I have to write at least a semi plausible method to replace the world cup

      Of course people point to the money being generated and the history of the world cup but the same applies to final series in the a-league

      Although part of me looks at this system and thinks this looks rather attractive. I mean I don’t support getting rid of the World Cup but imagine if this exist along with the world cup

      • Roar Guru

        March 6th 2013 @ 9:28am
        dasilva said | March 6th 2013 @ 9:28am | ! Report

        The original title of this article was “Does International Football Needs A “Finals” Series?” trying to mimic the debate in the A-league