FIH unveils new match-based world ranking system for 2020

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Friday unveiled a new world ranking system for 2020, which will be a match-based instead of tournament-based calculation for a “better reflection of current performances”. The new system will come into effect from January 1 next year. The FIH said the new world ranking system has been launched after 12 months of painstaking research, analysis and testing. The outgoing FIH world ranking system was in existence since 2003, being originally devised to allocate teams into pools at tournaments. The old model allowed nations to earn ranking points two to three times per year.

The FIH cited “numerous restrictions” of the tournament-based system for the change. These include the limited opportunities for lower-ranked teams to earn points and the “subjectivity” required to determine the strengths of the five continents in order to calculate continental ranking points.

“…the fact that over 60 per cent of international hockey matches had no ranking points on offer – have provided an ever-strengthening case for a change of approach,” the FIH said in a statement. The new match-based world ranking system involves an exchange of points between two teams competing in each FIH-sanctioned match played. The number of points exchanged depends on a trio of factors — the result of the match, the relative ranking of the teams and the importance of the match.

The FIH said the new model removes much of the subjectivity surrounding continental weighting by creating a system which is fair to all. The decision to introduce a new world ranking system was taken after a year-long trial period.

“Using every official international match played since the end of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, a working model of the new system was created, allowing for constant monitoring, assessment and adjustment throughout 2019. “The results of the test phase indicated that the new system was more dynamic and immediately reflective of current form than the existing World Ranking system and was subsequently approved by the FIH Executive Board,” the world body said.

The introduction of the new system for calculating the FIH world rankings will not affect the current placements — each nation will start 2020 in the same ranking position and with the same number of ranking points that they finished with in 2019. Commenting on the decision, FIH Sport and Development Director Jon Wyatt said:

“As a sport, we are continually looking to innovate and provide opportunities for our member nations.

“As with any new system launch and the introduction of change, it will take some time for everyone to adjust, and we will continually monitor the rankings to ensure it is accurate and fair to all.”

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