FIH Ranking System Explained ( Part 2)

Part 2 of understanding the new world ranking system better.

If confused, read part 1 first as this in inter-related .

Part 3 will mark the end of the question and answer session before a detailed look at events and their weight age and how points are awarded, a case study format.

How have the Importance (I) factors of the events been decided?

FIH Response:

The Importance factor is based on the position of an event in the qualification pathway for World Cups and Olympic Games, and on the importance of the event in promoting and developing hockey around the world. The Olympic Games and FIH World Cups are the most important in the hockey calendar and therefore have an Importance factor of 10. The Olympic Games and World Cup qualifiers, as well as the Continental Federation Championships, are the final qualification routes to the World Cup or OG so they have an importance factor of 6. All other tournaments and test matches are then given an Importance factor relative to their position in the international hockey calendar.

Should the Importance factor reflect the strength of each tournament, therefore the higher the ranked teams in a competition are, the higher the factor should be?

FIH Response:

The quality of opposition is taken into account through the Weighting (W) as it takes into account the relative strengths of the teams competing. Therefore to win for example the European Championship requires victories over more, higher ranked teams than to win the PAHF Championships, so a successful European team could win more points than a successful PAHF team. However, there is also an increased likelihood of a European team losing more points during a Championship. As always in a single tournament, there is a balance of points so those gained by one team will be lost by another. Therefore the total points change during a CF Championship, or any tournament, is a net total of zero. The modelling suggests that the relative World Ranking positions of the teams from different qualifiers is correctly ordered and there is no major advantage or disadvantage of one geographical region over another.

While we agree that it will remove the subjectivity inherent in the current system as it pertains to CF weightings, there seems to be a fair element of inherent subjectivity as it pertains to the weightings proposed for event performance included in the algorithm (i.e. “I”)

FIH Response:

As there are a much smaller number of levels of events, and these are applied consistently across the world, we believe that most, if not all, of the subjectivity has been removed.

Is there really a need of the “I” to be included in the algorithm?

FIH Response:

“I” is included as we want to recognise the importance of tournaments over individual test matches. Without it, teams could choose not to play in tournaments and simply play individual test matches for the same number of points. We want to continue to see the World Cup and Olympic Games as the most important tournaments and the best window for us to showcase hockey around the world, so we want teams to prioritise these tournaments, hence having the highest Importance factor, “I”.

If Team “A” loses to Team “B” who has less ranking points in the Pool match, but defeats them in the Classification Match for a final tournament position, would the points lost be regained?

FIH Response:

The exact number of points would be slightly different for each match as the points exchanged is calculated based on the ranking points at the start of each match, so after the first match, the points would be exchanged, then going into the classification match, the starting points would be different. If this scenario happened though, the number of points exchanged would be very similar. This would reflect the ranking points value of the match and not just the position in the tournament.

What happens if the Weighting factor is zero due to the difference in ranking points between the two competing teams?

FIH Response:

This is only the case if a higher ranked team beats a lower ranked team and the ranking points difference between the 2 teams is greater than 1000 before the start of the match. In this case, as the higher ranked team is expected to win, they do not gain any ranking points and the lower ranked team does not lose any. If the opposite happens, and the lower ranked team wins, they gain a large number of points and the higher ranked team can lose the same number. This is capped at a maximum weighting (W) of 2.

What are the processes in place to ensure the new system is not subject to manipulation?

FIH Response:

We will be closely monitoring matches and behaviours. Proper and competitive hockey is one of the corner stones of our Code of Conduct, so any situations where foul play is suspected or reported will be closely looked into and dealt with accordingly.

Could the Great Britain formula lead towards ranking engineering?

FIH Response:

The Great Britain formula will be applied in the same way as currently, but for each match. Therefore the number of ranking points for Great Britain before a match that is used to calculate the weighting on a match (W), will be calculated by the number of players from each of England, Scotland and Wales, and applying the proportional ranking points from each home nation. Any points won or lost during a match will then be divided similarly. If 2 Great Britain teams play against eachother (Wales vs Scotland for example), there will be a points exchange so no overall gain for Great Britain.

How will Hockey5s matches be included, or not, in this World Ranking system?

FIH Response:

The future vision is to have a separate Hockey5s world ranking table (as is currently the case with indoor). Until then, Hockey5s matches and tournaments will be included in the same table as 11s. Each nation will have to choose whether they are an 11s nation, or a Hockey5s one for the purposes of world ranking. If a team elects to be an 11s nation then Hockey5s matches will not count towards their world ranking. The aim is to launch a Hockey5s world ranking system separately in 2022 in the build up to the first Hockey5s World Cup in 2023, when Nations will then be able to participate in 11s, 5s and indoor world ranking tables separately

To say that it encourages playing international matches is dependent on what ranking points mean for NA’s, particularly those not in the top 20 or 30 rank. Does it mean: More access to funding for participation in higher level events; Development programs; Playing at a higher level, etc? For example, any of the above may not encourage a small nation to participate internationally if their focus is on club and festival hockey

FIH Response:

Agreed that the importance of world ranking to a nation will have an impact on how important these changes are. What it will do is give those nations who believe that world ranking is important (to unlock funding or for other reasons) the chance to move up the rankings more quickly as all of their matches count. The example is fair, but there is no negative impact of the new system either, so we shouldn’t change a system that isn’t relevant to a nation simply because it doesn’t encourage them to play more international hockey.