How strong are soccer teams? The ‘Host paradox’ and other counterintuitive properties of the FIFA’s ranking.
FIFA's ranking of national soccer teams is plagued with paradoxes. One surprising paradox is a dramatic underrating of the hosts of main tournaments. The hosts, who are absent from the preliminaries, for a long time, play only friendlies that award few points. Three models estimate the magnitude of the resulting “Host Effect” at 14.1-16.7 positions. Such an estimate goes against the intuition that a large investment in hosting a tournament should result in improvement of the host team’s standing. Host’s low ranking decreases the interest in the tournament and may result in a major loss of advertisement revenue.