Change or kill the world ranking

goldsilverbronze-300x300Some two years ago I wrote a first blog (My own world ranking) about my reservations with the way the current FIH global ranking is set up. This week week we were offered the newest release of still the same old ranking by the FIH. No real big surprises, as usual… but I still have some reservations as to the credibility of this ranking. So here we go with some suggestions 😉

But first, let’s be a clear about one thing. The Champions Trophy & Challenge have no use anymore in the current international set up. They could go on as mere exhibitional tournaments, for example for those nations without a strong national club based competition. But they should not be taken into account for the world ranking points because participation has not been merit based for several editions now. And according to me it has lost its meaning in todays circumstances…

Option 1: Forget the ranking all together

Every ranking, no matter what the system, will always be based upon the results from the past and is therefore not always the best reflection of the strengths of nations when a new tournament is about to start. The composition of teams change obviously, so the results of “another” team in the past, even the recent past, is not always the most accurate indicator of the strength at present for that nation.

However tournaments, such as they are organised these days rely on a previous ranking for the composition of their match schedules and pools. So why not just take the results of the last global tournament instead of a ranking based upon results over a couple of years… So the composition of the tournament schedule for the Olympic Games in Rio next year could be based upon the results from the last played World League, for which the final round is about to start in a couple of weeks.

So there would be no need to continue an artificial world ranking…

Option 2: Change the ranking

Suppose we prefer to keep the world ranking, for whatever purpose… even marketing reasons might be valid. In that case any true sport would go for a merit based ranking based upon recent results of those tournaments where all concerned had the possibility of playing.

So not only the points from the Champions Trophies & Challenges should be stripped, but also the points gathered by nations in their respective continental championships should not be taken into account for a fair world ranking according to me. Because how do you defend for example Australia getting the same points for winning the Oceania Cup, where in the current situation it only has one strong opponent, as for example The Netherlands who had to beat 6 out of the current top 12 nations during the recent European Cup. How can we honestly validate giving New Zealand the same amount of points as the European number two Germany, when New Zealand did not have to beat any quality opponent (with all due respect) where as Germany had to deal with 4 countries from the top 5…

So my suggestion for allocating points to make up the world ranking would be something like this:

Rank Olympics Worldcup World League
1 1000 900 700
2 800 720 560
3 600 540 420
4 500 450 350
5 450 405 315
6 400 360 280
7 350 315 245
8 300 270 210
9 250 225 175
10 200 180 140
11 150 135 105
12 100 90 70
13 50
14 40
15 30
16 20
17 10
18 5


Taking into account points are downgraded over the years, so 75% after 1 year, 50% after 2 years and 25% after 3 years this would add up to the following results and ranking for the top 10:

Rank Country Total Olympics 25% World Cup 50% World League 50%
Nov-15 points date rank points date rank points date rank points
1 Netherlands 910 Aug-12 2 200 Jul-14 2 360 Jan-14 1 350
2 Australia 775 Aug-12 3 150 Jul-14 1 450 Jan-14 4 175
3 Germany 552,5 Aug-12 1 250 Jul-14 6 180 Jan-14 7 122,5
4 England 525 Aug-12 4 112,5 Jul-14 4 202,5 Jan-14 3 210
5 New Zealand 500 Aug-12 9 62,5 Jul-14 7 157,5 Jan-14 2 280
6 Belgium 472,5 Aug-12 5 112,5 Jul-14 5 202,5 Jan-14 5 157,5
7 Argentina 425 Aug-12 10 50 Jul-14 3 270 Jan-14 8 105
8 Spain 305 Aug-12 6 100 Jul-14 8 135 Jan-14 10 70
9 India 277,5 Aug-12 12 25 Jul-14 9 112,5 Jan-14 6 140
10 Korea 252,5 Aug-12 8 75 Jul-14 10 90 Jan-14 9 87,5

In case someone would be able to add some arguments for keeping in the points from the continental cups these points should at least reflect the strength of each tournament. However I don’t think it would be possible to come up with a fair and equal ranking if we continue to add points from tournaments that are not open to all to qualify for… and wild cards like we have in the Champion Trophies do not count for true qualification in my opinion.

Looking forward to hearing some other opinions about the subject…