November 17 – A loophole that allows national teams to boost their seedings for the World Cup by deliberately avoiding playing too many friendly matches is likely to become a thing of the past after next year’s finals in Russia.
Currently seedings are based on the FIFA world rankings, using a points system which calculates average points for each game but is weighted against friendly matches.
The result has been that some teams who have played only a small amount of friendlies have gained an unfair advantage over those who have played more.
But from September 2018, European and CONCACAF teams will begin playing in Nations League competitions on dates in the FIFA calendar traditionally set aside for friendly games.
That means there will be very little space available for friendly matches for countries in those two confederations. FIFA also confirmed recently that the Nations League could become a global event.
“FIFA is reviewing the FIFA World Ranking system and will take a decision after the completion of qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup if any changes are be made to improve the ranking,” a FIFA statement said.
CONCACAF announced yesterday that its new League of Nations competition would generate its own rankings for its 41 nations.
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com