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France Complains About FIFA's Playoff Seeding System

  • ESPN FC, Monday, October 14, 2013 4:45 PM

The France Football Federation has appealed to FIFA to review its seeding system for the World Cup playoffs that will be held in November due to France’s low ranking, which the FFF believes is unfair. France is ranked 25th in the world according to FIFA, which means that should it qualify second in UEFA qualifying Group I, it would likely have to face a higher-ranking nation in the November playoffs, since FIFA determined that seeding would be based on a country’s ranking.

However, France believes that the seeding system is inherently biased against countries in Group I, which only has five countries in it, vs. the other groups, which all contain six. Per FIFA’s ranking rules, qualifying games are worth 2.5 times more points than international friendlies, and countries in Group I played two fewer games than all the other nations in UEFA qualifying.

FFF president Noel Le Graet told RMC he would raise the issue with the global governing body. "We're going to contact them on Monday. There is a little injustice between the groups of five and those of six," Le Graet said. "Our rivals in the other groups have been able to score more points in official matches. That's a fact. But the rules have existed for a while. It'll certainly be complicated. It'll be changed for the future, I imagine. In my opinion, it's difficult, but it would be fairer."

France is almost certainly to be unseeded for the November playoff draw, since potential rivals Croatia, Portugal, Greece, England, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Sweden are all ranked higher than France, while 26th-ranked Ukraine is poised to surpass Les Bleus in FIFA’s rankings if it beats San Marino on Tuesday.

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