It’s no surprise that the Fifa rankings need to be overhauled. Just look at the high rankings of both Mexico (#4) and the US (#5). That’s not saying the US and Mexico are not strong sides, but are they stronger than France, Argentina, Italy and England? I don’t think so. So it’s nice to see that FIFA recognizes that the rankings need to be overhauled or else risk becoming irrelevant.
Under FIFA’s current rankings, teams are awarded points based on the importance of the games (World Cup finals vs. friendlies), the strength of the opponent, goals scored and given and a few other factors. While the new system will use the same factors, it will weigh them differently, taking into account how often a team plays in a regional or continental championships. And it is this point that will probably have the most dramatic impact on the rankings in CONCACAF.
For example, the UEFA championship happens every 4 years while the CONCACAF Gold Cup is every 2, meaning that simply by virtue of an accelerated regional championship, CONCACAF teams earn more points. Plus, CONCACAF teams play more World Cup qualifiers than European teams, again giving the opportunity to earn more points. Under the new system, FIFA will factor that in, plus adjust for the weak CONCACAF group.
This means July 12th will no doubt be a dark day for Canuck footie fans. July 12th is the day that FIFA will announce the new world rankings and, with Canada currently ranked 83rd, I can’t see the new system doing us any favors. But, if it more accurately reflects what is happening around the world then I am all for it.