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 such 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]



"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 favor 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]


The system was proposed for the English Football League (then known as The Football League) by Jimmy Hill. [8] 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.

Year of adoption of three points for a win

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. [19] [ failed verification ]


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 shootout loss, none for a loss. [19] [ 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. [20] [21] 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. [22] 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. [23]

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 lockout and subsequently rejected by team owners in February 2007. [24] Instead the NHL awards two points for a win in regulation or overtime/shootout, one point for an overtime 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). [25]

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. [26] 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

The golden goal or golden point is a rule used in association football, bandy, baseball, lacrosse, field hockey, ice hockey, floorball, goalball, and korfball to decide the winner of a match in which scores are equal at the end of normal time. It is a type of sudden death. Under this rule, the game ends when a goal or point is scored; the team that scores that goal or point during extra time is the winner. Introduced formally in 1992, though with some history before that, the rule ceased to apply to most FIFA-authorized football games in 2004. The similar silver goal supplemented the golden goal between 2002 and 2004.

Penalty shoot-out (association football) Procedure in association football to determine the winner of a drawn match

A penalty shoot-out is a tie-breaking method to determine which team is awarded victory in an association football match that cannot end in a draw, when the score is tied after the normal time as well as extra time have expired. In a penalty shoot-out, each team takes turns shooting at goal from the penalty mark, with the goal defended only by the opposing team's goalkeeper. Each team has five shots which must be taken by different kickers; the team that makes more successful kicks is declared the victor. Shoot-outs finish as soon as one team has an insurmountable lead. If scores are level after five pairs of shots, the shootout progresses into additional "sudden-death" rounds. Balls successfully kicked into the goal during a shoot-out do not count as goals for the individual kickers or the team, and are tallied separately from the goals scored during normal play. Although the procedure for each individual kick in the shoot-out resembles that of a penalty kick, there are some differences. Most notably, neither the kicker nor any player other than the goalkeeper may play the ball again once it has been kicked.

A draw or tie occurs in a competitive sport when the results are identical or inconclusive. Ties or draws are possible in some, but not all, sports and games. Such an outcome, sometimes referred to as deadlock, can also occur in other areas of life such as politics, business, and wherever there are different factions regarding an issue. In some sports, such as cricket, a tie and a draw have different meanings.

In a sport or game, sudden death is a form of competition where play ends as soon as one competitor is ahead of the others, with that competitor becoming the winner. Sudden death is typically used as a tiebreaker when a contest is tied at the end of regulation (normal) playing time or the completion of the normal playing task.

Overtime or extra time is an additional period of play specified under the rules of a sport to bring a game to a decision and avoid declaring the match a tie or draw where the scores are the same. In some sports, this extra period is played only if the game is required to have a clear winner, as in single-elimination tournaments where only one team or players can advance to the next round or win the tournament.

The penalty shootout is a method of determining a winner in sports matches that would have otherwise been drawn or tied. The rules for penalty shootouts vary between sports and even different competitions; however, the usual form is similar to penalty shots in that a single player takes one shot on goal from a specified spot, the only defender being the goalkeeper. If the result is still tied, the shootout usually continues on a "goal-for-goal" basis, with the teams taking shots alternately, and the one that scores a goal unmatched by the other team is declared the winner. This may continue until every player has taken a shot, after which players may take extra shots, until the tie is broken, and is also known as "sudden death".

In ice hockey, point has three contemporary meanings.

The away goals rule is a method of tiebreaking in association football and other sports when teams play each other twice, once at each team's home ground. Under the away goals rule, if the total goals scored by each team are equal, the team that has scored more goals "away from home" wins. This is sometimes expressed by saying that away goals "count double" in the event of a tie, though in practice the team with more away goals is simply recorded as the victor, rather than having additional or 'double' goals added to their total.

An extra attacker in ice hockey and ringette is a forward or, less commonly, a defenceman who has been substituted in place of the goaltender. The purpose of this substitution is to gain an offensive advantage to score a goal. The removal of the goaltender for an extra attacker is colloquially called pulling the goalie, resulting in an empty net. This article deal chiefly with situations which apply to the sport of ice hockey.

The following are statistics commonly tracked in ice hockey.

In sports, a winning percentage is the fraction of games or matches a team or individual has won. The statistic is commonly used in standings or rankings to compare teams or individuals. It is defined as wins divided by the total number of matches played. A draw counts as a 12 win.

In games and sports, a tiebreaker or tiebreak is used to determine a winner from among players or teams that are tied at the end of a contest, or a set of contests.

The season structure of the National Hockey League (NHL) is divided into the pre-season, regular season, and the Stanley Cup playoffs. In the pre-season, which is generally held during the last two weeks of September, each team plays several not-for-the-record exhibition games. In the regular season, which generally runs from early October through early April, teams play 82 games which determine their standings. The three highest-placed teams in each division and two wild card teams per conference enter the playoff elimination tournament to determine the Stanley Cup champion.

In sports, a two-legged tie is a contest between two teams which comprises two matches or "legs", with each team as the home team in one leg. The winning team is usually determined by aggregate score, the sum of the scores of the two legs. For example, if the scores of the two legs are:

In a group tournament, unlike a knockout tournament, there is no scheduled decisive final match. Instead, all the competitors are ranked by examining the results of all the matches played in the tournament. Typically, points are awarded for each match, with competitors ranked based either on total number of points or average points per match.

Professional Inline Hockey Association

The Professional Inline Hockey Association (PIHA) is an "incorporated for-profit association" which operates an inline hockey league, with two conferences, of 11 franchised member clubs, all of which are currently located in the United States. Headquartered in Middletown, Pennsylvania, the PIHA is considered to be one of the premier inline hockey leagues in the United States. The Founders Cup Finals is held annually to crown the league playoff champion in the Pro and Minor divisions at the end of each season. PIHA also offers divisions for teens, & adults 35-and-over.

The 2012–13 KHL season was the fifth season of the Kontinental Hockey League. The regular season began on 4 September with the Lokomotiv Cup between last year's finalists Dynamo Moscow and Avangard Omsk. For the first time, the league consisted of 26 teams from 7 countries. Dynamo Moscow successfully defended their title after beating Traktor Chelyabinsk in the Gagarin Cup finals.

2012–13 Chicago Blackhawks season

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    2000–present: 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss.
    1996-1999: Three points for a win, 1 point for a shootout win, 0 points for a shootout loss, 0 for a loss.
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  21. RSSSF - Brazilian First division 1988 Archived March 15, 2016, at the Wayback Machine "The winner of the match earned 3 points, the winner of a penalties shootouts after a draw earned 2, and the loser of the penalties shootouts earned only 1 point."
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