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IC2011 - Divisions

1/1: Assuming around 24 nations, how should IC11 be organised?

1 big division 8 (6.40%)
2 divisions - premier 12 and developing 12 52 (41.60%)
2 divisions - premier 10 and developing 14 20 (16.00%)
2 divisions - premier 8 and developing 16 18 (14.40%)
3 divisions 22 (17.60%)
Something else 5 (4.00%)
Other polls | 125 voters | 21 comments
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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Thursday, April 15 2010 @ 02:46 PM ACST

Something else....

Top div 16 (4 * 4 and 3 pool games each), plus 'developing' division of how ever many manage to make it.

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, April 15 2010 @ 11:53 PM ACST


Although that allows nicely balanced pools, the odds are you're going to have 15th and 16th being flogged by probably 200, 100 and 40 points in their 3 games. That's why I favour say a top 10 and then the rest in a developing division.


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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Cam Homes on Friday, April 16 2010 @ 12:00 AM ACST

12 in the premier division allows 3 pools of 4 teams each playing each other. Winnner of each pool and best performing 2nd proceeding to finals rounds. or best 8 proceeding to finals round (top 2 in each plus best two 3rd place getters if we want more games). If we look at the likely contenders the top 12 only in the premier division will eliminate most if not all the 200 to zilch results in that division. Remember there were 16 nations in the last IC and we got several of those games. I reckon we must avoid that as much as possible. And it seems quite possible that the teams that were on the receiving end of those games could well be the winners in the 2nd division. They could be taking a cup home at the end of the comp rather than a thorough spanking. I know what I would prefer, you'd have to be the 'M' part of S & M to take the other option, Ha Ha.
With the up-coming Euro and Pacific Champs having a few more debutantes at international footy a clearer picture of the relative strength of all the likely contenders will be possible.

Cam

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Saturday, April 17 2010 @ 05:09 PM ACST

They also need to make sure the teams can play as great a geographic spread of opponents as possible - if we end up with a lot of European newcomers in division 2, you don't want to see sides come all the way to Melbourne to play against the same teams as they play against in Europe.

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Cam Homes on Sunday, April 18 2010 @ 11:54 AM ACST

Good point Aaron, but that could be a little difficult. Half the nations expressing interest are from Europe, and if we look at the likely 2nd half, the only non-Europeans are China and Fiji and maybe Tonga. Maybe a couple of preliminary rounds(pitting Europeans against non-Europeans) need to be played to see who fits into the lower end of the top tier and who stays in the 2nd tier. All assuming two divisions are the go, of course.
Or the 'powers to be' may have to ignore some of the ranking and 'rig' the draw so that at least one non-European team is in each pool. ie. have two 'barrels' to draw from, a Europe barrel and a non-Europe barrel.
Cam

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Tuesday, April 20 2010 @ 01:47 PM ACST

Cam, will 2 divisions skew your ranking system? Teams that may have won more games that are on the lower end of Div 1 may be worse off, and teams that are the better teams at the top of div 2 being better off? As I recall more weighting given to IC matches? 3 Divisions even moreso.

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Cam Homes on Tuesday, April 20 2010 @ 02:38 PM ACST

G'day Troy
There is no particular advantage to playing more matches(other than for provisional teams to get on the board) as all matches are worth a total of 0 pts(whatever one gains the other loses). I don't think having 2 Divisions is going to skew the results any, since the points exchange bonus for the IC is used in the calculations and often when teams of great difference in ranking points play, the actual points exchange either exceeds the max of 2 points or is lower than 0. I still think each team should have the opportunity to benefit from the bonus by playing in the IC regardlees of which division they play in.
I actually believe it would be even better for all teams because there is less chance of teams playing another where the points exchange will be greater than + or - 2 or 0
Take for example back in IC05 Round 3
Ireland v Sth Africa, NZ v Japan and PNG v GB resulted in 0 points exchange for all teams. The points gap was too much between the teams for any winners to gain any advantage or the losers to suffer.
I think that is part of the beauty of the system in that points exchanges are generally small and changes up and down the ranking scale are genarally small and only between teams that are close together on the scale.
Thanks for raising the question as I hadn't considered it yet, but having a look and trying a couple of hypotheticals I don't think 2 divs will be problem but even better for the teams(and the system) rather than detrimental.
Cam

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Tuesday, April 20 2010 @ 03:33 PM ACST

Thanks Cam.

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Brett Northey on Tuesday, April 20 2010 @ 07:09 PM ACST


Actually I am concerned that Troy is correct, because it is an aspect that has been worrying me and is related to the Canada-USA problem we've discussed before. With those 2 nations playing all the time, and the US almost always winning, they keep creeping up in points and Canada going down. That is kind of fair, but it is a bit unbalanced since they only ever play each other these days, except at the IC.

Similarly for the IC2011 if there are 2 divisions (which I think is a must, possibly even 3 if there ended up being > 24 teams).

If everyone plays to form/ranking, then the bottom teams of Div 1 keep losing and their ranking goes down. The teams at the top of Div 2 keep winning and their ranking goes up. If the split was say top 12 and next 12, then we could have 11th and 12th drop below 13th and 14th in ranking, despite 11th and 12th not losing to anyone below them and 13th and 14th not beating anyone above them.

The fundamental problem is that this kind of ranking system really requires teams to play other sides across the spectrum of rankings. Playing only teams below you means you can keep climbing above teams that are putting themselves on the line against higher sides.

This is moderated somewhat by the fact that the greater the separation in ranking points the less benefit to the winning team. But still, a team only playing lower sides will benefit. I'm not sure what the solution is. This system is inspired by the IRB system for Rugby Union. Do they mandate that nations must play across a wide spectrum of rankings?

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Cam Homes on Wednesday, April 21 2010 @ 11:38 AM ACST

If the IC11 is run as the previous ones and they continue to have classification rounds as well as finals then by having divisions the difference will be that the "losers" will be losing to different teams. Take the last four last time they were losing to the likes of NZ & PNG as well as the teams just higher than them in ablity, the middle group will be still getting their losses and the odd win against the very bottom teams. Remember China, Finland and Peace team all got in a win. If they are "top" of 2nd div they wiil get more wins and they will be against teams closer to them on the ranking scheme. Their losses won't be against teams much higher(fewer 200 zilch games) and losses that cancel out some of their gains when they win. The lower teams in the top div will get a couple of losses they wouldn't get(if they were still in the middle) but they would be against teams very close in rank so the loss won't hurt as much(smaller points exchanges) IF I can put it in a nut shell, the difference will be wins and losses against a different group of teams but a bigger ratio to teams relatively close in rank. (fewer 2 max exchange games I reckon)
I don't reckon that is a bad thing.
IF they don't have classification rounds this time it could be a little unfair to some teams.
Have a look at my old sheets if you've still got em, for the IC's (I know there are mistakes in them) but check out the number of 2 max games in IC's. Fewer of those can only be good for the teams when they lose.
What do Ya Reckon?
Cam

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Cam Homes on Wednesday, April 21 2010 @ 12:22 PM ACST

You might have to read that last comment of mine slowly and a couple of times to get what I'm trying to say:-).
Your point about the scheme requiring teams to play across a wide range of ability is not really true. It is the IC's which have "required" that because of the few teams in the international footy arena. You just don't have top 20 teams ever playing teams with rankings down in the middle of the scale in Rugby Union. I know Australia gave Namibia a father of a hiding in Adelaide when the World Cup Finals were here but Namibia is up in the top 25 or so. Indicative of a big divide between the top professional nations and the next tier down. Nations like those from the Carribean and other small and developing nations their national sides are often little more than University sides. They would only play in World Cup Qualifying rounds and rarely in any other "internationals".
The IC's have virtually played every nation from 2nd to bottom(only 20 or so nations) Union has about 95 on their ranking scheme. top would never play bottom.
Getting back to our situation there are VERY few 2 max exchange points matches outside of the IC's. I counted about 3 or 4.
I am confident that divisions will be less detrimental to the bulk of the middle and lower ranked nations as far as achieving smaller Points exchanges and therefore less severe moves up or down the scale than not having divisions.
Cam

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Wednesday, April 21 2010 @ 12:45 PM ACST

Well, I guess we try it and see. It's going to be a work-in-progress at least until after the IC11. As long as we've always got a record of every match that's gone into the table, we can always go back and fiddle with it.

On a related topic though - interesting to note that of 80 votes on the poll so far, only two have said that there should be one big division.

The option 12 premier, 12 developing is ahead by miles, but even that aside the vast majority seem to want a divisional structure of some kind. Wait and see what feedback the AFL gets from the nations directly, but I expect that they'll take notice of this.

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, April 23 2010 @ 12:31 AM ACST


It's worthwhile noting that at time of writing, although 44% favour 2 divisions of 12 and 12, which seems dominant, if you sum the next 3 options, around 46% favour a split to 10-14, 8-16 or 3 divisions.

So in a preferential voting system, you might actually get one of those later options over the line. What I'm saying is that nearly half the people want 12-12 but nearly half want a split that has less than 12 in division one.


---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Brett Northey on Wednesday, April 21 2010 @ 12:51 PM ACST


I agree avoiding 1st playing 15th or 20th is a useful / important asset of divisions, and I think they need to be used.

And I can see that in terms of the rankings it helps sort out teams that are close together, rather than subject them to big jumps from playing teams much higher.

However, I still think there is a weakness in the case I mentioned. Maybe that negative doesn't outweight the positives.

But let's look at a simplified case of a 4 team world. In order of ranking, A down to D. So split them into 2 divisions: A, B and separately C, D.

Assume all games go to form and also to emphasise the point A play B twice and C play D twice. A edges further up in ranking points, B edge down. Similarly C edge up and D edge down.

We may now have the situation that C edges above B. Yet all they have done is beat a lower ranked team. And B's only "crime" is to have been good enough to play in the top division, which has caused their ranking to drop.

So taking that back to the true IC2011 case, yes the teams at the bottom of Division One would have the chance to rise by beating teams above them, but if things go to form/ranking, their points will drop, and similarly the top teams of Division Two will rise. By the end of the tournament, assuming no cross-over games between Divs One and Two, we could see the lower middle teams rise above the upper middle teams, without really having earnt it.

So when I say it our rankings need a wider cross-over of games between higher and lower ranked teams, I really mean across that division divide. Say it separates into 1 to 12 and 13 to 24. Then not 1st playing 13th, but games like 10th playing 13th or 14th.

I'll test some scenarios out. I suspect the effect will be subtle enough that it will be washed out by issues such as not all teams attending so not as many closely ranked teams across the divisional divide, upset results mixing things up, and increasing numbers of one-off tests and other tournaments, allowing cross-divide games to inform the system.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Cam Homes on Wednesday, April 21 2010 @ 02:56 PM ACST

Yep C might edge above B as you say, but, by reducing the number of 2 max games which we have had plenty in the previous IC's, points exchanges are smaller, might only be 0.2 or 0.5 instead of 2.00. B doesn't get any -2.00's so reducing the likelyhood of dropping below C. If C isn't getting any +2.00's even less likelyhood of climbing above B and because all the teams(half dozen or more) are close in rank then the odd wins that the B's get won't have their rise wiped out by those big 2 max losses.
Top 10 at present are all over 41 pts. not count Peace team the next bunch are below 39(2 teams) and the rest below 36pts. No 2 max games would not see the bottom ones rise above those above 41pts. not for at least a two or three games. I stiil reckon all the possible problems/apparent anomalies that appear to be in the system is because of the lack of numbers, teams and matches. So as Aaron says as more teams enter and we have more matches and we're not likely to use it until around or after the IC and we see how the IC pans out with numbers etc tweeking it is not a problem. Tweek too much and it might create bigger problems later when we have more teams and matches.
Cam

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: tinka13 on Saturday, April 24 2010 @ 12:21 AM ACST

I prefer 8 - 16 split because I'd hate to see the 12th side get completely smashed by the no 1 or 2 side. PNG and NZ are already well ahead of the others, even no 3 and 4, but no matter what we do, there will be thrashings. To keep it all in prospective, PNG and NZ would get thrashed by any sort of Australian side. So no matter what happens the main focus should be on getting the maximum amount of sides to attend and to make this a successful IC 2011, the AFL should be planning NOW, how they will assist this to happen???

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Brett Northey on Saturday, April 24 2010 @ 01:16 PM ACST


Yeah, that's my thinking too - the gap between #1 and #12 may be pretty big - particularly if PNG gets anything like its best side there. But true that no matter where the line is drawn, whoever is bottom of that group will probably lose most or all of their games, which does seem harsh when the next team below them will be winning most of theirs.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Eurofooty on Monday, April 26 2010 @ 11:11 PM ACST
I put this up on BF originally, but though it might generate some more debate/comment here.
If there are in-fact 20+ teams coming..
* A premier division of 16 teams divided into 4 pools, while I realise that only NZ, PNG or SA can realistically win it, I think it is important to have an incentive to make all that effort to come and participate, and compete against the very best teams to gauge improvement since the last tournament
* A developing division of the remaining teams, where the top finisher advances automatically to the premier division in IC2014. The developing division could potentially include a quota for long-term permanently based Australians (5 years residency + passport) to assist with squad numbers, quality, experience. This intermediate, flexible step, while not without criticism from some quarters, has been in place with tournaments like the EU Cup since its inception. It has seen a number of teams participate start out initially with some Australian support but are now attending with squads composed entirely of locally developed players, with little drop in competitiveness
* All weekend matches in Melbourne to align with the AFL matches. Mid-week games nearby in historical Ballarat - travel by bus or rail. Use proper stadiums and hold games as curtain raisers to VFL / AFL matches, where possible.
* Pool games of 4 by 12 minute quarters. This will reduce the potential for blowouts plus help teams even more to back up and play another game every 2nd day. It's sheer endurance to play 5 games in 11 days, and be completely tested in terms of squad depth or decimated by players lost to injury. * Finals matches 4 by 20 minutes.
* As a curtain raiser to the final at the MCG, hold a World XVIII match (with the best players selected from the tournament) v Indigenous Australian / Australian or Victorian Amateur (VAFA) representative team, featuring players not in the final. Both for reasons of local publicity and to benchmark the playing standard of international footy is with respect to Australian based amateurs. Plus it would give more participants the MCG experience. If not for 2011, then 2014.
* IC11 on TV: Lobby SBS and Foxtel to show key matches live or delayed in Australia. Show matches on Eurosport, ESPN & Australian network particularly with respect to country involvement ie ESPN for US & Canada games, Eurosport for Euro teams etc Atleast live webstreaming and local language commentary of all games at the very minimum to give the folks back home an opportunity to watch and support their nation/players
* Find a major event sponsor(s) to help ease some of the operation and on-the-ground costs for the teams! It's costing many of the European teams around €100,000+ to get a squad down to Australia every 3 years, which, unfortunately results in the squad most likely to able to afford to tour, rather than the squad that deserves (based on merit & ability) to tour
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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Tuesday, April 27 2010 @ 04:12 PM ACST

Hi Phil,

I can see your line of thinking, but I still vote for a smaller first division. The standard gap will be just too big from 1st to 16th, people aren't going to want that after seeing games like NZ vs India at the 2008 cup.

But there is of course the issue of where you draw the line between first and second division teams. Some such as Sweden/Canada/Samoa could be the ones on the cusp, and might be aggrieved at being put in division 2.

It was interesting to note at the 2008 cup though, from memory a fair number of teams requested to be in division 2, before the AFL ended up combined it all into one.

The good news is that the AFL is looking for feedback on this, so let's keep the discussion going.

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Cam Homes on Tuesday, April 27 2010 @ 04:56 PM ACST

G'day Eurofooty
A premier division of 16 teams will repeat what happened last IC, the bottom teams being smashed by the top teams(repeats of NZ v India 200 to zilch). Just not good for the teams, players, spectators or for international footy all round. Even if the pools games are shortened maybe we might reduce the drubbings to 120 or 150 to 0 (still Cr-p for all concerned. IF you want to be the guy who has to tell the likes of France, China or Finland that they have to take on NZ or PNG or South Africa then be my guest.
If you have a look at the top 16 on the proposed Ranking scheme(use it only as a guide if you like) there is a gap between 10th and 12th and then another bigger gap between 12th and 14th (assuming Germany and Peace Team aren't coming) We are now into probably the Fourth Tier of teams Finland and India etc. My guess India is very likely a non-starter so 16 teams will most likely include at least one team that has never competed at 18-a-side level internationally.

Most of what you say in the rest of your comment I can go along with, but even 100-0 games have to be avoided especially if you want matches played as curtain raisers to AFL games or even VFL games. The' target' spectators need to be the wide range of immigrant Aussies living in Victotia as much as the normal AFL team follower/supporter if not more so. Those spectators will be more likely and happier to fork out a few dollars entry fee to barrack for their "home" nation team if they can be reasonably sure they are will be watching 'their' team at least score a few goals even tho they mightn't win too often.
I really do believe that a smaller premier division is vital at this stage of International Footy's development, maybe a top 16 at IC14 when hopefully there are more nations competing more 'regularly' at an international level.
Cam

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Brett Northey on Tuesday, April 27 2010 @ 07:21 PM ACST

Hi Eurofooty,

I agree with most of your points, in fact some of us at WFN have argued for many of those points too over the years. In particular:

  • a fixed number in the premier division, and developing nations division for the remainder
  • Ballarat has been suggested (rumoured) as a candidate for country rounds
  • shorter quarters; IC is always shorter quarters but I think 2008 had longer quarters than 2005, which was a step in the wrong direction, I'd probably go 14 mins for minor round, 18 for the finals. But if they were to go as short as 12 mins, since 12x4 is 48 mins total, I'd also give some thought to 22x2 halves instead, since stop starting for 1/4 breaks is a bit unnecessary and time consuming
  • playing a World 18 against some form of Australian side; agree in principle, in fact we tried to get a similar concept up along with the AFL Oceania guys in 2008. The idea being pushed by Andrew Cadzow was to make it a social event for all the teams to attend, but also feature the best say under 23 players, against a quality local junior side. The need has dissipated somewhat now that the World 18 and South Pacific are playing in the AFL Under 16s (as Under 18/19s). An open age World 18 would be interesting but obviously very much weakened if the grand finalists were unavailable. It'd be nice to get a major sponsor on board for that and bring them all out separately say in 2011 to play a couple of games against different tiers of Australian sides
  • lobbying SBS or Foxtel to cover on TV; that'd be a great thing
  • getting a major sponsor; we all say it every year, let's hope the AFL are trying hard, no doubt countries are again lobbying them for support

Where I disagree is a 16 team premier division. As Cam said, that is a recipe for absolute beltings. I know you speak from experience as an official with Sweden in 2008, but there seems to me to be an increasing acceptance by teams in the middle ranks (say 8 to 14) that they can't compete with the very top nations at this stage so why spend those €100,000+ just to get thrashed in 3 or 4 of your 5 games?

Our poll seems to indicate that most people are happy with 12 or less teams in the top division. Do you have a feeling for what most of the current Sweden players would like? They're right on the boundary of what might be a dividing line between divisions. If it went top 12 then based on 2008 Sweden would be in - IC08 finishing positions. Similarly our 2008 rankings, assuming no Australian side competes, would have Sweden 12th - World Rankings 2008.

I just fear 13th and certainly 16th would just get demolished in every game and it would do more harm to them than good.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

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