Rethinking the FIFA World Cup Final Draw

Julien Guyon

Bloomberg L.P.

April 12, 2014

The recent 'potgate' which dominated the build-up to the final draw of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil attracted my attention both as a football fan and as a probabilist, and calls for a change of the rules. It is actually symptomatic of more fundamental flaws that are linked to the way FIFA enforces the geographic constraints that they put on the draw. In this paper I investigate these flaws and suggest three new possible sets of rules that produce fairly balanced and geographically diverse groups, and use a small number of bowls and balls, in the hope that for the next editions FIFA will adopt one of these fairer systems, as I believe that the biggest sporting event in the world deserves the utmost level of fairness.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 18

Keywords: FIFA World Cup, final draw, geographic constraints, balanced groups, draw procedure

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Date posted: April 13, 2014  

Suggested Citation

Guyon, Julien, Rethinking the FIFA World Cup Final Draw (April 12, 2014). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2424376 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2424376

Contact Information

Julien Guyon (Contact Author)
Bloomberg L.P. ( email )
731 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10022
United States
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