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Let's Go Back To 2 Points For A Win

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Financial doping is continuing to ruin the competitive balance in European football leagues. Much hand-wringing has been made of this, and many attempts to solve it (such as UEFA's Financial Fair Play initiative) have arisen. But so far, nothing has changed. Only clubs owned by oil-rich billionaires, or those with a ubiquitous global brand (Manchester United, Real Madrid) seem to be able to consistently compete at the top level of European football. When even a club like Arsenal — the fourth most valuable in the world, according to Forbes — whine about the money being spent on transfer fees, something is wrong.

However, I don't believe FFP or any similar solution will solve this problem, and EU antitrust laws prevent the institution of a salary cap, I am told. But I have come up with a solution that doesn't involve any sort of financial meddling: bringing back the scoring system where a win is worth two points rather than three.

The reason super-rich clubs top the league tables is because their sheer depth means they can throw talented players in late game situations and turn draws into wins, ensuring precious extra points. Take the case of Manchester City. When they can bring on Edin Dzeko, one of the best forwards in the world who led the Bundesliga in scoring in 2009-10, in the 85th minute against the tired legs of the likes of Norwich or Fulham, that turns 5-7 draws into wins per year. And since wins are worth three times as much as draws, that is the difference between Manchester City finishing with some 80-odd points as opposed to in the mid-60s, along with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and us.

Or, let's take the case of Everton in this past season. They finished with 7 losses, compared to City's 6, and in two head-to-head matchups beat and drew with City. So you could say both clubs performed reasonably similarly. Yet because Everton had 15 draws, to City's 9, City finished a whopping 15 points ahead. As mentioned before, the reason many of those draws Everton had were wins for City is because of the insane squad depth City has, bringing on the likes of Dzeko or Balotelli in late game situations whilst we were bringing on Naismth. But if wins were worth 2 points, the clubs would have finished much closer and that would have effectively negated City's ridiculous financial advantage over a club like Everton.

Further, it makes logical sense that wins would be worth 2 points. If Team A plays 2 games and draws both, and Team B plays 2 games and wins one and loses one, wouldn't you say they performed reasonably the same? Yet one team has 3 points, and the other has 2. In football, the change to make a win worth 3 points was not done for any logical reason, it was only instituted to encourage more attacking play to please the viewing fan. For most of its existence, football used the 2 points for a win scoring system; it was only changed in the mid-1990s by most major European leagues (and the 80s in England), and adopted officially in 1995 by Fifa for international tournaments. Most other sports that use a points system, such as hockey, award 2 points for a win.

It is clear that, by going back to the scoring system that sport used for most of its existence, the logical scoring system, we would more effectively combat financial doping than FFP or any financial regulation system can.

Clarence Yurcan, New York, USA     Posted 14/06/2013 at 17:04:43

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Michael Kenrick
708 Posted 14/06/2013 at 21:05:32
Nice idea... if what you say was true. But it's not. Yours is a specious argument. Mainly because all teams potentially benefit from 3 pts for the win. Squad depth, along with the better players money affords, is the primary reason the rich clubs tend to do better (although they still need to be managed properly).

I suspect late substitutions are only a small part of the story. Last time I looked at this question (admittedly some years ago) it wouldn't really change the final tables much... although you can never account for the supposed psychological factor in fighting for 2 extra points rather than 1.

And of course you forget that we did have a manager who was overly proud of "getting a result" — even when that "result" meant leaving two points on the pitch! Hopefully this new fella is made of different stuff.

Ross Edwards
713 Posted 14/06/2013 at 21:22:42
What about 2 points for a win, 0 for a draw. If a game in the PL or in the CL group stages is level, it should go to Golden Goal.

That will encourage more attacking football, particularly in the World Cup and the Euros, the group stages in those are so boring.

Bring back Golden Goal for CL and WC games, that will liven it up.

Mark Roberts
735 Posted 14/06/2013 at 22:16:00
When 3 points for a win was brought in I think it was supposed to encourage a more attacking approach by away teams as in general the home team would almost always be trying to force / win the game, I've always thought it would have been a better idea to award 3 points for an away win, 2 for a home win and 1 for a draw.
Mike Allison
736 Posted 14/06/2013 at 22:18:55
No. A much better answer is the squad limit. Currently the richest teams are able to 'hoard' players, meaning the best players in the Premier League are gathered together at 3 or 4 clubs. If someone has a good season at a mid-table club, immediately everyone seems to want them to join the usual top 4/5 suspects.

The talent should be on the pitch. I'm not quite sure exactly how it would work, but you can reduce the number of senior players allowed in a squad, 25 is way too many. Any senior player not in that squad can leave for free, or go on loan for free, but the 'hoarding' club still pays their wages. This would include players who don't get picked (like Scott Sinclair).

The result would be that Manchester City would be paying the wages of players who have left them and play for other teams. Clubs like Norwich or Fulham would be starting with Dzeko rather than seeing him come on as a sub against them, and the 'depth' simply wouldn't be viable. It would end the situation where the top 5 could field a second XI stronger than the first XI of many of the other teams. Premier League fans pay £30-£90 a ticket and don't even get to watch the best players available.

Clubs who want depth would then have to generate it through top quality youth development, and there would be very little incentive for buying more and more players, as you either wouldn't be able to use them, or you'd lose the ones you have to rival clubs for nothing.

Mike Allison
738 Posted 14/06/2013 at 22:29:25
"In football, the change to make a win worth 3 points was not done for any logical reason, it was only instituted to encourage more attacking play to please the viewing fan"

Sorry Clarence, but doesn't that constitute a logical reason? 3 points for a win ranks alongside the backpass rule as one of the greatest rule changes in any sport ever.

Phil Sammon
739 Posted 14/06/2013 at 22:33:26
I like football as it is.
Ross Edwards
740 Posted 14/06/2013 at 22:34:44
I think 0 points for a draw will be good. Golden Goal should be used in all European leagues if it is level heading into injury time.
Phil Sammon
744 Posted 14/06/2013 at 22:36:19
Having said that, I like that idea Mike. Perhaps a limit of maybe 20 over 20 year olds.

There should also be restrictions on poaching youngsters and rewards for bringing kids through the ranks.

People regularly have a pop at Sinclair and City, and quite rightly. But we have done exactly the same with John Stones. Playing well in a half decent side every week, and now only getting off his arse to play non-competitive U21 football. The most blatantly obvious case of 'should have been loaned back' ever!

Mark Frere
746 Posted 14/06/2013 at 22:58:53
I've always thought when the rule about how many foreign players a team could field in european games changed, that's when I noticed the big shift in power from the money teams taking over. The Real Madrid's of this world just filled their sides with non Spanish super stars
Dick Fearon
754 Posted 14/06/2013 at 23:20:31
The change from 2 to 3 points for a win and 1 for a draw was a desperate attempt to stop what was a massive drop off in the games popularity and crowd numbers.
Anyone who remembers the Revie managership era at Leeds United would vouch for the fact that the situation was dire and urgent action was required,
Resulting from Don's philosophy, 'If the others don't score we can't lose', Leeds were succesfull.
When most other clubs used the same idea the game and its supporters went through a period of dour negativity that resulted in a massive drop off in crowd numbers plus a huge rise in nil nil draws. I sometimes felt that our Davy's style was a throwback to Don's style.
To my personal chagrin Littlewoods once paid 5 pounds for 8 draws in a line.
The game was dying and all kinds of solutions were discussed including increasing the width and height of goal posts.
was adopted and things immediately improved.
There is a good case to be made for making the game more competitive but I would not recommend a change to the current points system which continues to do the job it was designed for.
Steve Pugh
766 Posted 15/06/2013 at 07:25:22
A proper wage cap would work, as in a pound note figure not a percentage of income. It would have to include bonuses, both cash and non cash, and make it illegal to have sponsorship deals with linked companies. Any breach of the rules to result in a 10 point reduction.
Tony Waring
783 Posted 15/06/2013 at 10:32:05
Reducing the permitted squad size would be a big help.
Patrick Murphy
791 Posted 15/06/2013 at 11:48:37
Tony I agree and stopping the loan system would also help reduce wages and improve competition. In the 60s and 70s every top flight team had at least one player who you would pay to watch, but now there are very few outstanding players in most teams.
Andy Whittingham
792 Posted 15/06/2013 at 11:51:21
Completely concur with Mike. There should be a limit on loaning players out - I'm thinking maybe 4 - but not including 'homegrown' players. I also firmly believe that teams should not be able to loan in the same division. That would stop teams like Chelsea having squads of 50 - which is frankly ridiculous, considering there are only 11 places to play for!
Ray Roche
798 Posted 15/06/2013 at 13:59:29
Limit squad sizes, yes, that would be a start, but a wage cap would do more than anything to reduce the number of mercenary footballers crawling here from abroad to get splinters in their arses. Who was the guy who refused to leave Chelsea and preferred to NOT play football but to carry on getting his massive wages for doing nothing? A limit to the number of foreign players would also help in my opinion.There are a lot of rule changes etc. that I think would benefit football and keep the game moving, it would be worth an article on it's own.
Clarence Yurcan
802 Posted 15/06/2013 at 14:31:19
I admit my proposal isn't perfect, but something needs to be done, and it's clear FFP won't do anything. If we want to keep a win as 3 points, then how about losing a point for a loss?

Having a win worth 2 points is not a crazy idea; as I mentioned that's the way they do it in hockey, and it's the way they've done it in this sport for 100 years or so.

James Stewart
804 Posted 15/06/2013 at 14:42:13
Squad limit yes.

2 points for a win no. Wins should be rewarded. who wants to watch draws all the time. Well apart from Moyes

Steavey Buckley
805 Posted 15/06/2013 at 14:53:30
3 points for a win has made the 1 point for a draw look more like a defeat. If the draw is 1.5 points, it gives a drawn game more respectability. Not accepting that, going back to when a team received half the points of 2 points for a win when a team draws.
Jason Heng
807 Posted 15/06/2013 at 15:10:55
Follow the NBA - place a cap on total wage bill for every club. This will push down players' wages and force an equal distribution of top players.
Matthew Williams
808 Posted 15/06/2013 at 15:06:55
The system that would blow open world league football is so simple: award just 2 points for a 1~0 win!

It would shake up all the world leagues, giving half the teams competing in it a fair chance of winning it. Attack & go for goals, or play it canny & risk losing valuable points, sorted... job done! The national game welcomed back to the real sporting world!

Mark Frere
810 Posted 15/06/2013 at 15:15:26
Jason Heng 807

It would have to be a wage cap that applied to every league in the world in my opinion. If the wage bill was just capped in the EPL, all the top players would just move abroad for the bigger wages. At least 90% of footballers are just mercenaries, bleeding clubs dry with highly inflated wages and agent fee's

Craig Robb
811 Posted 15/06/2013 at 15:37:03
Jumpers for goalposts?
Mark Frere
814 Posted 15/06/2013 at 15:34:28
Ray Roche 798

I believe the Chelsea player you were trying to think of was Winston Bogarde, A total mercenary of the highest order!

Ken Crowther
815 Posted 15/06/2013 at 15:39:32
Craig Robb # 811, a common sense comment at the end of a senseless article.
Ross Edwards
817 Posted 15/06/2013 at 16:05:45
I think we should have a draft like in the NFL and Aussie Rules. Impose a salary cap and introduce a draft system. Also, I want a transfer window for managers, I'd make it January.
Ray Roche
819 Posted 15/06/2013 at 16:04:05
Mark Frere, Bogarde, thanks, that's the guy! What a horrible arsehole he must have been, most of us on here would have done anything to play professionally and that prick just sat there and took the money. And before anyone says "You'd have done the same", I don't think so. He'd have got good money wherever he'd gone and he'd have been playing, which is what it's all about.
Albert Dock
824 Posted 15/06/2013 at 16:05:20
I've never been happy since they introduced the crossbar never mind that new fangled offside rule.

Football is possibly the least changed sport on the planet: and for a very good reason - it really doesn't require it.

Look what happens when you keep on meddling. Can anyone truly say that they understand the sweaty socks' league formation. I don't and I've got a O Level in woodwork.

Tony Waring
842 Posted 15/06/2013 at 17:28:40
I like it Albert (824). They issued beer mats named after you which were the talk of the Crows Nest - and presumably other Higsons pubs. Aaaaah Higsons bitter, what happy memories.
Dick Fearon
989 Posted 15/06/2013 at 23:10:19
The USA tried to add some pizzazz to the game with the following:

Split the pitch into thirds with offsides only in the defensive thirds, do away with the penalty area, 1 on 1 shootouts to replace penalty's where the attacker is allowed 5 seconds to get from the centre spot to beat the keeper. Settle drawn games with penalty Shoot outs.

Here in southwest Australia our Soccer association used those rules in its end of season competition with players and spectators alike brimming with enthusiasm for it. Then the cold dead hand of FIFA outlawed it.

Steve Pugh
012 Posted 16/06/2013 at 08:18:52
Dick, I've been wanting that offside rule for ages. It would really open games up.
Chris Matheson
016 Posted 16/06/2013 at 09:38:52
Reduce the number of substitutes you can name. Makes massive squads much less relevant.
Mike Green
019 Posted 16/06/2013 at 09:47:13
"3 points was not done for any logical reason, it was only instituted to encourage more attacking play"

Erm.....that sounds like a pretty logical reason - and great one - to me Clarence.

Sorry but I couldn't disagree with your post more. The point for a draw mentality was the bedrock of Moyes' philosophy and facilitated 11 years of 4-5-1.

I would go one step further - no points for a draw. Why are teams being rewarded for not losing?

After that I'd consider Mark Roberts suggestion of 2 points for a home win, 3 for an away to add a dimension to it all.

But as Phil said, it ain't broke, why fix it?

Derek Thomas
038 Posted 16/06/2013 at 12:22:51
Clarence, sorry but you're talking total Bollocks mate... it doesn't matter how many points you get for a win 2, 3, 4, 10, 100.

You win the games you win and that's it. If you go out with the intention of not trying to win, then you may end up with 15 draws and 7 loses.

It would be better to have NO points for a draw, then you would have to play for a win.

Sean Patton
218 Posted 16/06/2013 at 19:30:45
Mike and Chris nail it the only way to make the Premier League more competitive is to do both of the following

Reduce the squad limit to 18 with no restrictions on U21 homegrown

Limit subs to 3 players

The governing bodies don't have the inclination to do it and the sugar daddy clubs wont vote for it so we are stuck with the flawed system

Michael Jones
311 Posted 17/06/2013 at 05:48:07
It's 2 points for a win that got us promoted from Division 2 in the fifties. 3 points and we might still be there... just a thought.
Ryan Sloan
376 Posted 17/06/2013 at 16:58:58
Absolute trash is this argument about money etc... blame our board for our poor financial state — and you can go back well before Kenwright. I bet not many Blues complained in the John Moores era when Everton quite regularly smashed the British transfer record, and we had a massive advantage over, well, everybody! We were the city of that time.

It smells of sour grapes for me, and I'm more concerned with the club moving forward financially... As if the Premier League would go for this anyway... as there's massive overseas interest and money pouring in. Yeah, a load of bore draws will get them drooling.

I for one think the rule is spot on by rewarding the team that's been more positive, though you see a few smash-and-grabs, usually the result is the correct one.

Brian Denton
712 Posted 18/06/2013 at 23:40:22
Ryan, I must have made this post four or five times in the last couple of years, but here we go again......
I was alive when John Moores was Chairman, and I'm sick of refuting the calumny that our situation then was analogous to City now. But to reiterate:

(a) John Moores underwrote our finances, he did not 'pump money' into Everton;

(b) With the exception of Alan Ball, the marquee players of that era played for different clubs;

(c) In the 1960s the League Title was won by EIGHT different clubs — Burnley, Spurs, Ipswich, Man Utd, Shite, Leeds, Man City, & Everton.

Stop fucking rewriting history.....

Andrew Cutler
009 Posted 20/06/2013 at 04:03:47
What about a salary cap?... Say no club is permitted to pay more than £65M per annum (approx. a squad of 20 at an average of £65k/week for 52 weeks).

That is a BIG number and allows the rich bastards to attract the mega stars but not hoard.

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