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FIH CHANGES THE WORLD RANKING

22 January, 2020

On the 2nd of January, the FIH launched their new world ranking system with a short press release and a long accompanying FAQ section. The main innovation is that the new system takes into account the results of any official game between two teams, rather than simply the final positions in major tournaments. But what does this mean in practice? How will points be awarded and will the new system change the way hockey is played around the world?

The new system awards points based on two criteria

– The importance of the match

– The difference in rankings points between teams

For the first criteria, the ranking rightly awards more points to a game which is part of a multi-team tournament (the Olympics, World Cup or Continental Championship) rather than a standalone test match.

For the second, clearly the number of points earned or lost by a team is proportional to the difference in ranking points between opponents (beating Vanuatu and Australia is not the same).

To ensure that the system does not disproportionately benefit the countries who are able to play more test matches (for financial or geographical reasons), the ranking adopts a net-zero approach: the total sum of points awarded in a single game must be 0: i.e. the points won by the winning team are the same as those lost by the losing team.

So let’s see some examples in practice

– Germany beating Belgium in a test match: Germany +6 points, Belgium -6 points

– Belgium beating Germany in the Olympics: Belgium +58 points, Germany -58 points

– France beating the Netherlands in a shootout in a three-team invitational: France +19, Netherlands -19

With the disappearance of the Open Series and the awarding of ranking points for test matches, we can expect that countries will organise an increasing amount of these. As more points are given for matches which are part of a multi-team invitational, we can also expect more three or four-team invitationals being organised throughout the year. Lastly, given the low reward and high risk of playing teams with very different ranking, we can expect that teams will most likely want to play others of similar ranking.

For hockey fans, this means many more hockey games where results matter, and for hockey players this means the end of zero-pressure friendlies. From now on, every game will matter, and if it’s a draw, there will (almost always) be shootouts!

MEN TOP10 RANKING:

1.Australia

2.Belgium

3.Netherlands

4.Argentina

5.India

6.Germany

7.England

8.Spain

9.New Zealand

10.Canada

WOMEN TOP10 RANKING:

1.Netherlands

2.Australia

3.Argentina

4.Germany

5.England

6.New Zealand

7.Spain

8.Ireland

9.India

10.China

Written by Giulio Ferrini

Image by coincodecap.com