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CRIEFF Discussion Paper Number 0612

Explaining International Soccer Rankings

Peter Macmillan and Ian Smith

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Existing research on the determinants of FIFA’s international soccer rankings suffers from serious statistical problems, particularly sample selection bias and non normal errors. We correct for this by extending the data set by an additional 100 countries. Furthermore, we find important roles for new variables in the form of the size of population and a long history of international soccer in explaining world football rankings. We also investigate the determinants of an alternative ranking measure to that constructed by FIFA.

JEL Classifications: F0, L83, H50, Z10.

Keywords: international football rankings, history.