An Explainer on the New FIFA Point Formula

As always FIFA decided to revamp their formula on how each National team obtains points and therefore making headway in the FIFA Rankings. The old formula was relatively simple but there major flaws especially with the fact that UEFA had a coefficient higher than that of CONCACAF or CAF (Africa). The old formula was:

Points=(Result of the match)(Match Status)(Opposition Strength)(Regional Strength)

The first part of the formula is the Result of the Match which can be replaced with a one if the end result is a win, .5 if it’s a draw or a loss or loss in penalty kicks and .75 if it is a win achieved via penalty kicks.

The second is if it is a friendly to a World Cup match. The variable changes like this:

  • 1 for a Friendly
  • 2.5 for World Cup qualifiers and Continental Cup qualifiers (such as the Euro, Gold Cup, African Cup of Nations)
  • 3 for Continental Cup games (such as the Euro, Gold Cup and African Cup of Nations)
  • 4 for World Cup games

The trickiest is the strength of the opposition which requires a bit of calculus. This formula for the variable is (200-the position for the opposing team)/100. For instance if team A is the opponent and it’s ranked fifth overall the variable would be 1.95.

And the final formula is the Confederation coefficient which is:

  • 1 for UEFA
  • 1 for CONMEBOL (South America)
  • .88 for CONCACAF (North, Central America and the Caribbean
  • .85 for Asia, Africa and Oceania

The National Team that abused this formula was Poland which in the 2018 World Cup didn’t do anything important aside from winning against Japan which set up the first time that the Fair Play points tiebreaker was used.

The new formula looks daunting but it is relatively easy.

The formula itself is

Points=Pointsbefore+ Importance of the match (I) (Result (W)-Expected result (We))

Pointsbefore=Points before the match of Team A

And the Importance of the Match changes depending on the game:

Type of Game Coefficient of (I)
Friendly outside of the International Match Windows 5
Friendly during the International Match Windows 10
Group phase games of Nations League tournaments 15
Knockout phases of Nations League tournaments 25
Qualification games for Confederations final cups and for the World up 25
Confederations final cup games until the Quarterfinals 35
Confederations final cup games from the Quarterfinals onwards 40
World Cup games until the Quarterfinals 50
World Cup games from the Quarterfinals onwards 60

Result of the game (W)= 1 for a win, .5 for a draw, 0 for a loss. If a penalty shootout is used then it is .75 for a win and .5 for a loss

Where the We portion is: We=1/ (10^ ((-(Points Team A-Points Team B))/600)+1))

An example of this is when  the US Men’s National Team plays Wales in a friendly during the November window for a win

Steps Mathematical explanation
Sub in Variables Points For a win = 1542 (US current points) +10 (Friendly during Match Window) + (1 -(1/(10^((-(1542(P Team A)-

1550 (P Team B))/600) +1


Solve the Expected Result Points For a win=1542+10(1-(0.49232532))


Solve the Parenthesis Points For a win=1542+10(0.50767468)


Distribute the (I) variable Points For a win =1542+5.07674681


Result Points For a win= 1547.07674681
Rounded Points For a win≈1547


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