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Friday, March 4, 2011

2014 FIFA World Cup: Distribution of slots unchanged

The slots for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ will be as follows: AFC 4.5, CAF 5.0, CONCACAF 3.5, CONMEBOL 4.5, OFC 0.5, UEFA 13.0 and one slot the host Brazil. This is the same distribution of slots as for the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups™. For the play-offs relating to the half slots, a draw will determine how the four confederations involved (AFC, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and OFC) will pair off. Sufficient time will be allowed between the home and away legs of these play-offs.


The draw will be made in Brazil in July to determine the playoff pairings by confederation, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said.

Source: USA Today

Adding the differences between the actual allocations and those the Marcuccitti system came up with, UEFA had the most to lose over the last four World Cups:

UEFA: -2.5
CAF: +1.5
AFC+OFC: +2.5


  1. The Marcuccitti system gave me an idea similar to the relegation-based approach.

    Consider this -- teams finishing 4th and 3rd in their groups (i.e. teams not making it to the group stage) are "relegated" by having their confederation slots "given back" and redistributed. I can also describe this as a performance-based system.

    Here's one application of the idea. Use one or more recent World Cups -- I'll chose two. Calculate for each confederation the average number of teams to reach the group stage -- I'll combine AFC+OFC -- this will be the non-relegated (or "earned") slots. That leaves 16 slots to be redistributed -- three for each of the five "confederations" plus one additional for the host confederation.

    Here are the numbers:
    (Columns are Confed, WC10, WC06, Avg, Redistrib, Tot)

    AFC+OFC 2 1 1.5 + 3 = 4.5
    CAF 1 1 1.0 + 3 = 4.0
    CONCACAF 2 1 1.5 + 3 = 4.5
    CONMEBOL 5 3 4.0 + 4 = 8.0
    UEFA 6 10 8.0 + 3 = 11.0

    Would CONMEBOL deserve 8 slots? It could be argued they earned it. Alternatively, instead of giving the final slot to the host confederation, it could be given to UEFA, but that would take us away from performance+fair redistribution.

    The benefits are that every confederation would be guaranteed three slots, even with dismal performance. Also, the number of slots would be known once each World Cup's knockout stage begins, and whenever a confederation's team does reach the knockout stage, it has effectively earned the confederation an extra 0.5 slots (if using the most recent two WCs).

    Drawbacks, of course, is that if you aren't CONMEBOL, you think CONMEBOL gets too many slots. And mathematically, CONMEBOL could be allocated more slots than they have teams (a nice problem to have!).

    Too simple?

  2. That's why FIFA decides it politically: a formula causes more headaches than it cures.

    And, I repeat, I agree the way the slots were allocated to 2014.

  3. A lot of people complain that UEFA deserves more spots. I believe that in order to ask for more spots, Europeans should do better. Below the top-8, there is no big differences to the rest of the World.

    People miss the right perspective. If the whole debate is about spots, and Europe has 13 spots, that means, it is the “cannot miss” 8, plus 5. Those extra 5 put Europe ahead of every single conferderation but Africa. It's enough. Here is why.

    You can count on having 8 Europeans and 2 South Americans (the "cannot miss" 2, BRA/ARG) in every round of 16. Since 1998 (32 teams), this was the result for the remaining 6 spots:

    1998: Eur., 2; S.Am., 2; N.Am., 1; Afr. 1.
    2002: Eur., 1; N.Am., 2; As., 2; Afr., 1.
    2006: Eur., 2; S.Am., 1; N.Am., 1; Afr., 1; Oc., 1
    2010: Eur., -2; S.Am., 3; N.Am., 2; Afr., 1; As., 2.

    Total: Eur., 3; S.Am., 6; N.Am., 6; Afr., 4; As., 4; Oc., 1.

    Europe actually only beats Oceania!

  4. Some one could say that I was easy with South America and forgot Mexico. OK. I will accept that. So, Europe still has the obligation to put 8, but South America, 3; and North America, 1.

    The result would be slightly different (Eur. 3; S.Am., 2; N.Am., 2; Afr. 4; As. 4; Oc. 1), but the point would remain the same: down the top-8, Europe has about the same strength of the rest of the world.

    This is the spots FIFA awards: Europe, 8+5; Africa, 5; Asia, 4 1/2; North America, 1+2 1/2; South America, 3+1 1/2; Oceania, 1/2.

    Now, it looks fairer, doesn’t it?

  5. I still like the Marcuccitti system better :)