Three points for a win

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Three points for a win is a standard used in many sports leagues and group tournaments, especially in association football, in which three points are awarded to the team winning a match, with no points awarded to the losing team. If the game is drawn, each team receives one point. Many leagues and competitions originally awarded two points for a win and one point for a draw, before switching to the three points for a win system. The change is significant in league tables, where teams typically play 30–40 games per season. The system places additional value on wins compared to draws so that teams with a higher number of wins may rank higher in tables than teams with a lower number of wins but more draws. [1]

Contents

Rationale

"Three points for a win" is supposed to encourage more attacking play than "two points for a win", as teams will not settle for a draw if the prospect of gaining two extra points (by playing for a late winning goal) outweighs the prospect of losing one point by conceding a late goal to lose the match. A second rationale is that it may prevent collusion amongst teams needing only a draw to advance in a tournament or avoid relegation. A commentator has stated that it has resulted in more "positive, attacking play". [2] However, critics suggest teams with a one-goal lead late in a match become more defensive in order to defend a lead. [3] [4] [ failed verification ] In addition, the overall competitive balance decreases in favour of top teams. [5] The average number of goals per match in Turkey's top football division has risen significantly since the change to three points for a win. [6]

The three-point system in ice hockey – in the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Russia, Switzerland and Sweden – had no effect on the number of goals scored. The same conclusion can be made for relative number of ties. [7]

Implications

Changing the scoring system may (or may not) change how a game is played, and it may change the results in a tournament even if there is no change in the way the game is played. One key outcome is when an overall result is different under three points for a win (W3) compared to what it would have been under two points for a win (W2).

Round robin changes

For a four team round robin, under two points for a win (W2) there are 16 possible combinations of final standings points eg. 6-4-2-0 with each team potentially able to score up to 6 points. Under three points for a win (W3) there are 40 combinations eg. 9-6-3-0 with each team being able to score from zero up to 9 points (with 8 the only score that cannot be scored). [8]

Just four of the 40 W3 combinations yield potentially different placings if the scoring system was W2. These are listed below (considered for the case of association football (soccer) where goal diifference is the next criteria for splitting points ties): [9]

  1. W3 7-4-3-2 would be W2 5-3-2-2. W3 3rd scored 3 points for their 1 win and two losses, which drops to 2 points under W2. W3 4th scored 2 points for their two draws and a loss. The hypothetical W2 outcome would differ from the actual W3 outcome if W3 4th had a better goal difference than W3 3rd. If goal diifferences are equal, other tie-breaker criteria applies.
  2. W3 7-4-3-1 would be W2 5-3-3-1. W3 2nd scored 1 win, 1 loss & 1 draw, whereas W3 3rd achieved 3 draws and therefore a goal diifference = 0. So if W3 2nd had a negative goal difference they would drop to W2 3rd. If their goal diifference = 0, other tie-breaker criteria applies. See below for a real world case.
  3. W3 5-4-3-2 would be W2 4-3-3-2. Same as the W3 7-4-3-1 case above, if W3 2nd had a negative goal difference they would drop to W2 3rd and if their goal diifference = 0, other tie-breaker criteria applies. See below for a real world case.
  4. W3 4-4-4-3 would be W2 3-3-3-3. W3 4th had 3 draws and therefore goal diifference = 0. Under W2 they would jump ahead of one or two of W3 2nd or W3 3rd if W3 2nd or W3 3rd had a negative goal difference from their 1 win, 1 loss and 1 draw results. (W3 1st's goal diifference must be > 0 as at least one team must have a positive goal diifference.)

There are two instances in FIFA World Cups where the result under 3 points for a win would have or could have been changed from the hypothetical outcome that would have occurred under 2 points for a win.

The first was when Slovakia finished W3 2nd in Group F of the 2010 FIFA Men's World Cup. The Group F W3 standings were 5-4-3-2 which would be 4-3-3-2 under W2. New Zealand finished W3 3rd with three draws (and so, a goal diifference = 0). Slovakia had 1 draw, 1 loss and 1 win (the win over 5th-ranked Italy causing Italy's early World Cup exit). But Slovakia's goal diifference was -1. Therefore New Zealand would have advanced to the Round of 16 hypothetically under W2 and so would have had their most successful World Cup (they have never advanced from the group stage). Instead, under W3, Slovakia advanced, losing to Netherlands 1-2 in the Round of 16.

The second of only two instances of the W3/W2 difference potentially affecting who progressed in a World Cup final tournament occurred in Group D of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. Group D finished W3 7-4-3-1 which would have been 5-3-3-1 under W2. The Matildas (Australia's women's soccer team) finished W3 2nd with a goal diifference = 0, Sweden W3 3rd also with a goal diifference = 0. Both teams had 4 goals each, and drew when they played each other. To break the hypothetical W2 tie, drawing lots would have been instigated ('fair play points' as a tie-breaker had not begun).

That hypothetical drawing of lots would not have stopped the loser advancing, as the W2 3rd would still have advanced as 3rd best W2 3rd place getter (Sweden actually progressed as 4th best W3 3rd) but it would have changed which branch of the knockout round they were placed in.

Under W3, in the knockout rounds W3 2nd the Matildas played 7th-ranked Brazil and won 1-0, then lost to Japan 0-1 in their QF, while W3 3rd Sweden met top-ranked Germany losing 1-4 in the Round of 16. So the Matildas benefited from playing under W3 rather than W2 while Sweden suffered - as a hypothetical drawing lots loss under W2 would have likely resulted in a less successful World Cup for the Matildas up against top-ranked Germany in the hypothetical W2 Round of 16.

History

The system was proposed for the English Football League (then known as The Football League) by Jimmy Hill. [10] It was introduced in England in 1981, [3] but did not attract much use elsewhere until it was used in the 1994 World Cup finals. In 1995, FIFA formally adopted the system, [3] and it subsequently became standard in international tournaments, as well as most national football leagues. In the mid to late 1990s Legues and governing bodies in the of sports ice hockey, field hockey, Volleyball, Water Polo, Bandy, Floorball, Camogie, Gaelic football would start adopting the 3 points for a win system. Variations on the original 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 zero points for a loss were invented. For example in ice hockey where overtime/shootouts are used determine the winner for every game in at the end of Regulation teams earn 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 zero points for a loss, the winner overtime/shootouts earn an additional point for total two earn in the game. This means once a winner is decided the point system is 3 points for a regulation win, 2 points overtime/shootout win, 1 point for a overtime/shootout loss, 0 zero points for a regulation loss.

Association football

This lists association football leagues where the standard is 3 points for a win in regulation time, one point for a draw, zero for a defeat. The year given is when the relevant season started.

Major League Soccer, based in the United States and Canada, has awarded three points for a win since its first season of 1996, but initially held a penalty shootout at the end of regulation draws, awarding 1 point to the winner of the shootout and none to the loser. Since 2000, it has allowed ties/draws to stand in the regular season, and follows the international standard of awarding 1 point for a draw. [21] [ failed verification ]. Since 2023 The Leagues Cup between MLS and Liga MX uses 3 points for a regulation win, 2 point for a shootout win, 1 points for a shootout loss, 0 for a regulation loss point system in the group stage.

Ice hockey

Many ice hockey leagues use the 3 points for a regulation win, 2 points for an overtime/shootout win, 1 point for overtime/shootout loss, 0 points for a regulation loss as a way to incentivize teams to win in regulation thus causing more attacking play. Listed below are the years that ice hockey leagues and associations have adopted and abandoned a 3 point for a win system.

  1. ^
    in the 2007/2008 season both the Russian Men's and Women's top division adopted the point system listed
  2. ^
    NHL(USA/Canada Men's),KHL(Russia men's), and EIHL(UK) use the 2 points for any win, 1 point for overtime/shootout loss, 0 points for a regulation loss in hockey point system. These leagues however still recognise that their current point system does not incentivize winning in regulation on its own. Instead of using the a three-point system, they incentivize winning in regulation through tiebreakers. These leagues currently all use greater number of regulation wins as the first tiebreaker once all regular season games are played. [45] This makes a regulation win more valuable than an overtime or shootout win but only in the case of a tie with another team in the standings.
  1. ^
    only Japanese Clubs participated in the 2021 and 2022 Asia League Ice Hockey due to COVID-19 the coemption was named the Japan cup during these season

Bandy

The Russian Bandy Super League Started using 3 point for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 for a loss point system for the Preliminary round in 1995. In 1996 the 3 point for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 for a loss point system was adopted for all rounds.

Field Hockey

Since 1998 FIH has used the 3 point for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 for a loss point system. [46]

Water Polo

The FINA Water Polo World League used the 3 points for a regulation win,1 point for tie, 0 points for a regulation loss point system in 2003 and 3 points for a regulation win, 2 points for a Shootout win, 1 point for Shootout loss, 0 points for a regulation loss point system from 2004 to 2022.In 2023 FINA Water Polo World League was ended and both the men's and women's World cup adopted the 3 points for a regulation win, 2 points for a Shootout win, 1 point for Shootout loss, 0 points for a regulation loss point system. At The 2024 Summer Olympics tournament will use the 3 points for a regulation win, 2 points for a Shootout win, 1 point for Shootout loss, 0 points for a regulation loss point system.

Camogie

The All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship adopted 3 point for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 for a loss point system in 2016.

Ladies' Gaelic football

Since 2020 The Ladies' Gaelic Football Association currently uses the 3 point for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 for a loss point system for all competitions.

Volleyball

In FIVB Summer Olympics & World Championship adopted the match point system of 3 points for winning in three or four sets, 2 points for winning in five sets, 1 point for losing in five sets, 0 points for losing in three or four sets in 2011.Since 2016 matches won has been the primary ranking method with the match point system being first tiebreaker.

Floorball

Variants

In 1936 there kicked off the first USSR Championship in football among "exhibition teams" (later "teams of masters") instead of cities teams as previously and was conducted as a league's round-robin tournament. The points in tournament were awarded in a format three points for a win, but for a draw was awarded two points and a loss – one point, while no points were awarded for no show.

Some leagues have used shootout tiebreakers after drawn matches. Major League Soccer (1996–2000) used three points for a win, one point for a shootout win, no points for a loss in any fashion (including shootouts). [21] [ failed verification ] The Norwegian First Division (in 1987) and the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A and its lower divisions (in 1988) used three points for a win, two points for a shootout win, one point for a shootout loss, none for a loss. [49] [50] The same system is adopted in the group stages of the 2016–17 EFL Trophy and 2016–17 Scottish League Cup onward (in both cases, no extra time will be played). The Iraqi Premier League has used two different variants of this system. The first was in the 1988–89 season, where three points were awarded for a win by two or more goals (after normal or extra time), two points were awarded for a one-goal win (after normal or extra time), one point was awarded for a penalty shootout win and zero points were awarded for penalty shootout defeats or defeats after normal or extra time. [51] The second variant was used in the 1994–95 season, where three points were awarded for a one-goal or two-goal win, but four points were awarded for a win by three or more goals. [52]

In the National Hockey League in North America, a system described as "the three point win" was proposed in 2004, with three points for a win in regulation time, two for a win in overtime, and one for a tie. This proposal was put on hold by the 2004–05 NHL lock-out and subsequently rejected by team owners in February 2007. [53] Instead the NHL awards two points for a win in regulation or overtime/shootout, one point for an overtime or shootout loss, and none for a regulation loss.

International competitions run by the International Ice Hockey Federation award three points for a win in regulation time and zero points for a loss. Games in IIHF competitions are not allowed to end in ties; if a game is tied after regulation each team is awarded one point and a sudden-death overtime followed by a shootout (if necessary) is played, with the winner awarded an extra point (for a total of two points). [54]

In 2009, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association adopted a system of three points for a regulation or overtime win, two for a shootout win, one for a shootout loss, and none for a regulation or overtime loss. [55] The IIHF uses a similar system for its competitions, awarding three points for a win in regulation, two points for a win in overtime or shootout, one point for a loss in overtime or shootout, and no points for a loss in regulation.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

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