Football World Ranking Procedures

General overview:
Football world ranking is a new ranking system developed to compare the relative strenght of the men's national football teams. The ranking points are calculated using a points exchange system, basing on the performance achieved. To evaluate each performance, five fundamental elements are taken into consideration:
-Result of the match (win, draw or defeat);
-Margin of victory;
-Strenght of the opponent;
-Venue of the match (home, away or neutral ground);
-Importance of the match;
An important difference respect the better known ELO ranking, is that a team could earn negative points after a win, and positive points after a defeat. This will occur every time the margin of the victory will be lower than expected. Thanks to this, the ranking should be more accurate to converge into real stenght for the various teams.
Furthermore, it is mathematically wrong in a points exchange system, to use different constants for different rounds in the same competitions. When a team reach the next round, the team is enough rewarded by winning against better opponents. In case of defeat, a bigger constant for a superior round will cause an unfair penalization of points respect teams that perfomed worse in the previous rounds.
The K constants we used for the importance of the competitions are calibrated to recognize better the real importance of the various tournaments in the international football, and to make the ranking faster to react respect the recent results.

Detailed method of calculation:

The formula:


- P: New ranking points;
- Pbef: points before the match;
- OR: points of the opponent team (before the match);
- R: Points assigned for each result, depending on the goal difference in the game:
if a game is won by one goal R=400, if a game is won by two goals R=500, if a game is won by three goals R=550. If a game is won by 3+N goals, R=550+(50*N);
if the game ended in a draw, R=0;
if a game is lost by one goal R=-400, if a game is lost by two goals R=-500, if a game is lost by three goals R=-550. If a game is lost by 3+N goals, R=-550-(50*N);
Particular rule for matches ended at extra-times or penalty shoot-out: R=200 for the winning team, -200 for the losing team (half win and half defeat). This rule is applied only in a single-leg match. In two-legged play-offs the results of the regular times only will be considered.
- V: Venue of the match: -100 points for the team playing at home, +100 points for the team playing away, 0 points for both the teams if they play on neutral ground;
- K: importance of the match. The values are listed below;

In the calculation, all the games are included between senior national teams who are full, associated or provisional members to one of the six continental confederations (UEFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, CAF, AFC, OFC), even those that are not Fifa members. In general, are excluded from the ranking all the unaffiliated representatives that are inactives for many years and for which the nationality of the players could not be verified by a superior governance. Also games involving age-limited teams are excluded.
Forfeited matches for whitch a result is assigned, but not really played, are not taken into consideration.
Played matches (even partially played) for wich the result is changed after the game for a rule violation, will be calculated using the assigned corrected result and the ranking will be fixed later.

Example of calculation
Match: Nigeria-Seychelles 3:1 (Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, played on march 22, 2019)

Points calculation for Nigeria:
Pbef = 1573,199
OR = 928,733
R = 500
V = -100
K = 1,00


Points calculation for Seychelles:
Pbef = 928,733
OR = 1573,199
R = -500
V = 100
K = 1,00


New teams (rookie teams):
A new national team will enter for the first time in the ranking with the same points of the last ranked team. A team that has played less than 10 match from the first entry, is considered a "rookie" team. The "Rookie" teams are identified in the ranking with the number of games played in parenthesis next to the name. When a match involves one or two "rookie" teams a special rule is applied for the constant K, since the rating of the "rookie" team is considered not yet realistic. There are two possible circumstances:
- Match involving one "rookie" team: the constant applied for the type of match will be 2*K (doubled) for the "rookie" team, while it will be 0,5*K (halved) for the opponent.
- Match involving two "rookie" teams: the constant will be K (the normal constant) for both the teams.

Penalties for long inactivity
A 70 points penalty will be applied to every team inactive for more than 1 year. The penalty will be applied in the first ranking published after the limit date was passed. If the team returns to play after the limit date, but before the new ranking will be published, the penalty will be skipped. A second 70 points penalty will be applied after the second consecutive year of inactivity, and a third after the third consecutive year without games. A team inactive for more than 4 years will be definitively deleted from the ranking. A deleted team that returns to play, must be considered as new team for the reintroduction in the ranking. The described procedure for "rookie" teams must be used and new points will be assigned.

Importance of the match values (K):

FIFA World Cup (qualifications included): 1,25;
Continental championships (qualifications included), Confederations Cup, Concacaf play-off for the confederations Cup, Continental Nations Leagues, AFC Solidarity Cup: 1,00;

Friendly matches and friendly tournaments, regional tournaments: 0,25;

Double validity: in such cases, the greater value will be applied.

This ranking started with matches played from august 1, 2018. Several improvements of the formula were done in the past months and the ranking was recalculated each time. The four-year period until the WC2022 is considered as a transitional period (from the old system to the new) and the ranking could be subject to further changes without notice.