How FIFA’s official world rankings are compiled

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The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings for July have been released and as usual, there are some curious placements. Argentina have replaced the world champions in the top spot despite losing in the Copa America final, Romania and Wales are in the top 10, the USA dropped seven spots despite beating the Netherlands and Germany (in friendlies), and Algeria are the only non-European or South American team in the top 20.

Naturally, FIFA’s bizarre and consistently useless rankings prompt fans and journalists alike to wonder exactly how they are compiled. Now, for the first time ever, DT can reveal the full process of how your FIFA rankings are made.

Step 1: The world’s most brilliant mathematicians devise and maintain an incredibly complex and highly advanced formula

These mathematicians devote their lives to ensure that international football has the most accurate ranking system it possibly can. Many haven’t seen their families in over a decade as they continually tweak and correct their life’s work. Whenever an improvement to formula is discovered, they weep with joy and feel like the many sacrifices they have made for their work were all worth it.

Step 2: The expertly crafted formula is loaded onto a special computer

The computer used to calculate FIFA rankings isn’t just any computer. It’s one that has gone through a rigorous process to ensure that it’s ready for the task at hand. First, it is used on a daily basis by a teenage boy for no less than five years, thus ensuring that it is loaded down with every bit of porn-site malware in existence. Once that is achieved, the computer is then placed in an old folks home for another five years, where the residents load its web browser with toolbar after toolbar and bury the desktop screen under a blizzard of icons for images that were attached to scaremongering email forwards.

With the computer now barely functional, sounding like a jet engine capable of time travel, and hotter than the surface of the sun, it is ready to have the FIFA rankings formula loaded onto it. And it is officially renamed the “BlatterTron 9000.”

Step 3: The Coca-Cola

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Brooks, Coca-Cola is just the sponsor of the rankings, they don’t have an actual role in the construction of them.” And that’s where you’re wrong. Once the formula is loaded onto the BlatterTron 9000, a two-liter bottle of Coca-Cola Classic is dumped onto the computer (they tried it with Coke Lime once and Bhutan came out ranked number one, so they had to redo it).

The calculations are now ready to be made.

Step 4: Steve-ization

Once the BlatterTron 9000 has produced its draft of rankings, a FIFA employee named Steve makes the final adjustments. Steve drinks during the day and hates his life. So he rearranges certain teams at random just to mess with anyone dumb enough to care about the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings. For example, Romania at No. 8 in the July rankings is a total Steve move, as is England’s presence anywhere in the top 50.

And that’s it. Once Steve has done his worst, the rankings are published and people with too much time on their hands are outraged by them for a few seconds before forgetting they exist until the next month’s rankings are released.

 

8 comments

  1. I’m a statistician with two advanced science degrees and I find the formulas ridiculously unfriendly. It only matters if you beat a top team under certain conditions, such as they have to outrank you considerably and only certain key events count, but not certain other key events. I think the Coke thing is real, something weird is happening here.

  2. Kevin says:

    The reason the US dropped is because the 2011 Gold Cup took place in June and this year it’s in July. This means that all the games the US won the last time around have stopped counting but the games they win at this cup won’t count until the next time they are computed.

    This means that the US should jump pretty high given a win or two next month.

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