Paul also suggested in 2004 to include the OFC winner(s) in AFC's final qualifying round. It sort of happened in 2006 (more about it in this post).
Now, let's see what Paul's system is about:
Use a points system to determine each confederation’s allocation. Then confederations can gain or lose points through both intercontinental playoffs and the World Cup finals. It doesn’t need to be a complicated formula.
Each confederation’s starting points should be based on the current allocation of places (not including the host nation). So UEFA starts with 13 points, CONCACAF starts with 3.5, etc.
When a confederation loses an intercontinental playoff, it should lose 0.2 points for the next World Cup cycle while the winning confederation gains 0.2. Then the World Cup finals should also rank confederations against each other and the two best confederations would gain points (0.4 for best and 0.3 for next best) while the two worst would lose (0.4 for worst and 0.3 for next worst). The confederations’ new totals would then determine the allocation of slots for the next World Cup.
So how do we rank confederations’ World Cup finals performances against each other?
There needs to be only one criterion for determining this ranking: what percentage of a confederation’s teams finished bottom of their groups.
Whenever the debate over allocation of slots rears its head, media tend to focus on how many teams (from each confederation) reach the Second Round. But this is the wrong way to go about it. Only the weakest links count because this is effectively an exercise in promotion and relegation.
Let's apply the Marcuccitti system to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
UEFA: France, Serbia, Italy
CAF: Nigeria, Algeria, Cameroon
AFC+OFC: Korea DPR
- 2010 allocation
- 2010 number of teams
- 2010 number of bottom teams
- Performance correction
- Intercontinental playoffs correction
- Adjusted values
- Rounded values (with host moved to CONMEBOL)
Thus, the allocation for 2014 would be:
CONMEBOL: 6 (including hosts Brazil)
I applied the Marcuccitti system to the the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups. Here are the results:
1998 World Cup
UEFA: Scotland, Bulgaria
CAF: Cameroon, Tunisia
AFC: Saudi Arabia, Korea Republic, Japan
Actually, CONMEBOL got 1 places less (4.5), with AFC(+OFC) and CAF getting 0.5 more.
2002 World Cup
UEFA: France, Slovenia, Poland
AFC: China PR, Saudi Arabia
CAF: Nigeria, Tunisia
Actually, UEFA got 2 places less (14), CONMEBOL 0.5 less (5), CAF 0.5 more (5) and AFC(+OFC) 2 more.
2006 World Cup
CONCACAF: Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, USA
UEFA: Serbia and Montenegro
AFC: Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia
UEFA got 0.5 less (13) with AFC(+OFC) getting 0.5 more.
Adding the differences between the actual allocations and those the Marcuccitti system came up with, UEFA had the most to lose over the last three World Cups:
CONCACAF always received from FIFA the exact number of slots computed by the Marcuccitti system.