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Monday, November 9, 2009

My site is a propaganda tool for FIFA

That's what I've been told recently. :)

On November 4th, I read this article on

D, the author, basically says that FIFA will change the ranking of a team (or more teams) if they think it will suit their interests.

"These unexplainable rankings and others are why I feel FIFA's corruption is now to a point where it is foot printed."

I posted a comment to explain it's not possible to do this, because they are using a formula published on their website. But that didn't help. D said - and I quote:

"If i may be blunt, a website devoted to predicting and generally accrediting FIFA's rankings comes across as propaganda sponsored either by FIFA or one of their executive committee members. FIFA's reputation for secrecy is is proven by their own published formula, One can't calculate a ranking and match theirs it's impossible many credible sources have tried and failed except for the ones who choose not to publish their own formula too, such as you have."

I tried to explain again and I even told him I expected some apologies. However, D claimed he made no accusations and I should be careful with my manners. :)

Then he continued with the "criteria" thing.

D, you're amazing.

Let me put it this way. If I say: "I suspect you stole my wallet" - it's not the same thing like saying "You're a thief"? English is not my strong point, but you said my website is (or "comes across as") a propaganda tool for FIFA. If that's not an accusation...

D, read the "Calculation of Points" and let me explain some things to you:

1. "Criteria" means (with regards to the FIFA ranking) things like: confederation strength, importance of a match, match points, time frame weighting. Those values were chosen by a multinational group comprising FIFA staff and external experts. This doesn't mean I think FIFA's ranking is the best ranking available. I happen to like more the Voros rankings and the Elo ratings.
2. "Statistical requirements" means a teams must play a minimum of 5 matches in every 12-month frame.

One final question: Did you bother to compute the points for Argentina (or Croatia) using the published formula? Use pen and paper, Excel sheets - whatever you like. You can even take a look at the detailed totals section of my site or check the PDF file published by FIFA in October 2007. Maybe that will help you wake up and face the harsh reality - FIFA are not tampering with the rankings.

About me:

Christian, husband, father x 3, programmer, Romanian. Started the blog in March 2007. Quit in April 2018. You can find me on LinkedIn.


  1. Edgar, why are you giving this tool the light of day?

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Shouldn't even bother with it. Someone with a complex who can't even be bothered to investigate how the rankings are arrived at wants to have a moan, that's all.

    I recently did a quick attempt at reproducing the FIFA rankings for one nation and got within 3 points, so have no concerns that they're being illegitimately adjusted at the whim of FIFA.

    Move on...

  3. Edgar,
    I said you can quote me not misquote me.

    In response to your question,"Did you bother to check the Wikipedia about ranking?

    Yes Edgar I did, I am a contributor to Wikipedia just like you are. You are the referenced external link site at the bottom named as: Independent site about the FIFA ranking

    Best regards, Dan

  4. Dan - humour me. Can you provide a numerically arrived-at example that shows that the rankings are incorrect?

    Simply citing England's W2 L1 versus Argentina's W2 L2 in the period isn't enough because, as per the rankings, historical fixtures change in significance over the course of time.

    Give us real details, not just vague ones.

  5. Dan, if I misquote you, please show me the word/phrase.

    I linked your article and the comments, so anyone interested would be able to check what I've said.

  6. Edgar,
    Your work is awesome. It sheds additional light on FIFA's calculations, and validates that they are true to the data. D's points are unsupportable and will be ignored. I second, "keep up the good work."

  7. Edgar pardon my delay in responding but I have been busy. One reason why i CANT possibly calculate the "TOTAL" points accurately I will explain as brief as possible but I will include the needed information.

    The T "variable" ALONE, can be manipulated to two different values for a #1 ranked team.Their published formula that is clearly stated in FIFA's .pdf file calls it the "strenght of opposition"variable.
    " T= [200-Ranking of opposition]/100" So therefor a #1 ranked team should have a value of 1.99 value. However immediately after that it states as follows: "Only the team at the top of the ranking is assigned 2.00"
    I presume you used a value of 2. instead of 1.99 for any #1 ranked team's match over the past four years.

    I believe you miss quoted me by adding anything more than my apology on your website, and that is obvious.

    Regardless you seem to be very upset so I felt an obligation to respond to your comments and offer you another apology. I am sorry to offend you by insinuating you was either a FIFA fanboy or perhaps i was out of line. BTW You may not quote me anymore as far as publishing it on your website but I don't mind you keeping this up

    Peace and goodlook, Chin up!

  8. Dan, the T "variable" argument is not a valid one. The thing is anyone with some basic math skills and an open mind can compute the total points for any given team. Of course I used 2, not 1.99 - it's in the rules!

    To misquote = to quote incorrectly. English is your language, you being from USA and everything.

    To shed some light on the paragraps you've added to your post.

    The October 2009 ranking was postponed (I wrote about it in this post on September 16th) because FIFA wanted to use that ranking to seed the European teams in the UEFA World Cup play-offs. It had nothing to do with Argentina. The original date was October 7th, but the last group matches in Europe took place on October 10th and 14th. That's why FIFA had to move the release date in order to include those matches in the ranking calculation.

    See the FIFA ranking schedule.

    Dan, you are the one misinforming readers. I use the Elo (not ELO) ratings to generate probable results. Then using those probable results, I compute the FIFA ranking using FIFA's formula. I expect you to edit that sentence.

    I'm not upset - you even made me chuckle a couple of times. :) I honestly expected you to admit your mistake after seeing the numbers and all that. But hey, I have to salute you for the way you defend your undefendable theories. Hats off for this!

    It's been fun, but it's becoming annoying - for every explanation I give, you come up with a new conspiracy theory. Have fun with it. I'm done.

  9. Dan used Albert Einsteins quote in this occasion;
    If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts :)
    Actually, a pretty funny discussion between you two, no one wants to give up, right?:)

  10. Yes, Dan is still keeping this up. You can see his incorrect calculation of points for Portugal vs. Hungary.

    The most obvious mistake - UEFA has a regional strength of 1, not 0.99. Then he has Hungary ranked 50th - they were actually 47th at the time of the match. Check the September 2009 ranking.

    Then there's this amazing promise: Dan will calculate the various scenarios for Argentina's and England's points changes in the last three months - and he'll also draw his final conclusion. Hooray!

  11. Ok, so I do all my rankings and matches manually and my info is almost perfect. (Historical rankings being the only prblem right now) I've matched up with what FIFA has. This guy is a tool.

  12. Dan, Portugal vs. Hungary took place on October 10th, 2009. The most recently published FIFA ranking was the September ranking (September 2nd). This match was actually used to compute the October 2009 ranking (published on October 16ht, after this match took place). That's why you have to use the September ranking.

    I said 47th, not 147th.

  13. Edgar your criticism and suggestion of what rankings i should of used when i calculated them(November 12) was to use Sept rankings. That would be incorrect.My post/ calculation and your suggestion were both after October ranking.You seem to think historical rankings have some bearing, they don't. But your suggestion to me and criticism is dated and I think its wrong regardless it was appreciated.
    best regards Dan

  14. Edgar, I hate the fifa ranking method, but I think it's clear that this guy is completely wrong.
    I think that all serious persons, first of all, will search some minimal information about an argument, before discussing it in it's website. It' s clear that he wrote an article with wrong considerations about an argument that he completely ignore..
    I think the best thing was simply to ignore it and, if i was at your place, I avoided to link to this stupid article..

  15. @jos235

    Thanks for the advice, but I'm curious to see just how far will he go with this.


    Dan, I'm a strange kind of adult :) Feel free to inform Blogger about my comments, although I don't see how you could think there was malicious intent in any of them. I apologize if I've offended you in any way.
    I won't post comments on your site because you have the habit of disallowing them. More to the point, I like to keep all the discussion here so everyone will be able to see it in full.

    You're free to unsubscribe from this post's comments.

    You've linked to an October "probable ranking". You have to look at the "final preview".

    I will explain (again!) the probable ranking. I use the Elo ratings to generate probable results. Then I use the FIFA ranking formula to compute point totals based on matches already played and those probable results. Of course I'm not always right because matches are not played on paper or in my computer's software, so actual results will many times differ from the probable results. The probable ranking is aimed at helping the reader see where his team might end up. I also provide the preview with minimum and maximum points.

    Dan, I've been doing this since October 2007. I know what I'm talking about. Check older posts to see that my previews (not probable rankings) were always spot on.

    I stand by my previous suggestion - you have to use the ranking at the time of the match, or more to the point, the most recent ranking at the time the match was included in the ranking calculation. If you don't want to take my word for it, take a look at this pdf file from It's on Wikipedia too - I added it a long time ago. It seems you didn't read it. Look at the match points for games played after the 2006 World Cup and see if you have the same values.

    As I've said before: the October ranking was postponed not to benefit Argentina, but in order to be used to seed the European 2nd placed teams in the play-off draw. The original date was October 7th and it was moved to October 16th to include the matches played on October 10th and 14th.

    Argentina would have been 9th - see the first October ranking final preview.

    One final note: FIFA don't compute the ranking on their own. A different company makes all the calculations.

    I hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions. I'm anxiously waiting for your conclusion.