Home> Archive> 2024> Volume 14, Number 1, 2024
IJSSH 2024 Vol.14(1): 27-36
doi: 10.18178/ijssh.2024.14.1.1189

The Effect of Different Point Systems on European League Positions

Costas J. Efthimiou1,*, Barry J. Griffiths1, and David C. Wright2

1. University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA
2. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA
Email: costas@ucf.edu (C.J.E.)
*Corresponding author
Manuscript received June 5, 2023; revised August 2, 2023; accepted August 28, 2023; published January 30, 2024.

Abstract—The introduction of three points for a win in European football during the 1980s and 90s was intended to promote a more attacking style of play and thus more goal scoring and entertainment for viewers. However, subsequent studies showed that the change did not have the desired effect and led to unexpected outcomes such as a rise in foul play, as measured by the number of red cards. In this paper, we investigate the outcome of assigning points in alternate ways. We consider several modifications of both the current system (with 3 points awarded for a win and 1 point for a draw) and the original system (with 2 points awarded for a win and 1 point for a draw), including the effect of awarding bonus points for large margin victories and a deduction of points for large margin defeats. Combinations of these modifications led to 175 different systems being analyzed. Based on data from the top five European leagues, we conclude that solely modifying the point system does not have a significant impact on the standings, with the average change in the ordinal rankings ranging from 0.44 to 0.95 placings per season, and that the final ranking of the teams at the end of the season is largely independent of the point system and based on the relative playing strength of the teams. However, a much greater variation is seen once bonus and penalty points are added for large margin victories and defeats.

Keywords— point systems, European football, league positions


Cite: Costas J. Efthimiou, Barry J. Griffiths, and David C. Wright, "The Effect of Different Point Systems on European League Positions," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 27-36, 2024.

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