The global ranking in any sport is something that should be beyond any doubt merit based, and only merit based. And the second “conditio sine qua non” is all countries/participants should get the same opportunities to earn points. No one should be excluded. I think we can all agree without these two conditions you can not have a fair ranking… Because of this it is indisputable that our current FIH global ranking is flawed.
The current FIH ranking
Our current FIH global ranking will issue points for participation and ranking in the Olympics, the World Cup, the World League, the Champions Trophy and the continental championships. However from these events the last two should not be taken into account.
The Champions Trophy is an invitational tournament so not every country is given a chance to earn their share of points. The problem with the continental championships is that it would be extremely unfair to compare the title of European champion with that of any of the other continental champions. In order to become European champion you usually have to fight off at least 5 other top countries. In Asia that would only be 2, in Oceania 1 and in the African and Pan-American championship none. If there is no level playing field, these events in all fairness should not count towards the global ranking.
No one can argue the new HPL (Hockey Pro League) about to start in 2019 also can’t be taken into account for the global ranking. It is an invitational event, much like the Champions Trophy these last couple of years and therefore not eligible.
What the ranking should look like
So what events should count towards a fair global ranking in the future. That is simple : the Olympics, the World Cup and the World League. That’s it… These are the only global events where all countries have the possibility to qualify for participation each and every time.
The next question is how to value these 3 events. That is up for debate, but my take on this would be that the Olympic Games are the most coveted title of the all. This is where most of the points should be given. Next I propose to rate the World Cup at 90% of the value of the Olympics and the World League at 50%.
However the World League will no longer be a title event as of 2019 when the HPL kicks off. When that happens you would think the points won in the HWL should also be forgotten and we will be left with only the Olympics and the World Cup. But that would make it virtually impossible for the nations outside the traditional top 12 or top 16 to make any progress in the ranking. So I would propose to keep the HWL points anyway. We will have to figure out what would be an honest and fair way of distribution of these points based of course upon merit.
But for now this would be my proposal for a fair and honest distribution of points in the global ranking…
Points are to be allocated the 1st of the month following upon completion of an event. Points earned count for 100% for the first year after they were earned. After the 1st year only 75% remains, after the 2nd year only 50%, after the 3rd year only 25%. And finally after the 4th year (or when a new edition of the same event has been played) these go down to 0%.
The difference between both rankings
That would result in the following ranking at this point in time (July 2017) :
Compare this to the actual FIH global ranking at this moment :
The FIH has their hands full with all of the circus acts Hockey India is putting on these days again. But they will have to decide upon the way forward with their ranking soon. Before the new event portfolio is being prepared and scheduled in by all concerned. I’m sure the Belgians and Spanish would agree with my view on it. Most likely the Aussies and Germans will try and look for reasons why mine is wrong ;)
Whatever you take on it… Enjoy the games being played in Johannesburg at the moment and looking forward to the next European Championship next month. Qualification tickets for the next World Cup in Bhubaneswar (India) next year are up for grabs!