A bunch of rankers

Everything needs a sponsor!

Everything needs a sponsor!  Coca-Cola has been the “presenting partner” of the world ranking since its launch in August 1993. Nevertheless, Coca-Cola has no influence on the underlying principles or calculation of the ranking, says FIFA.

WARNING: There may be some serious football talk in this article. Thin White Line advises readers to proceed with caution.

The FIFA World Rankings for November will soon be released, which is an excuse for tedious, repetitive and predictable discussions about whose dad is tougher.

The release of the rankings is a bit like the weekly singles charts used to be, back when people used to listen to the radio and buy music in shops. When was that – last century? A long time ago, anyway.

At the end of each week, the charts would be published and you could pick up a copy at your local record shop.

For those of you under 30, “published” in this instance means printed in hard copy on paper (probably not recycled), and “record shop” was a place where you hung out after school pretending to buy vinyl records, hoping that Samantha from your French class would be there and that maybe you’d get up the courage to talk to her and who knows she might also like Bon Jovi and you can talk about other awesome bands like Europe and Def Leppard, but forget about it because in final period that meathead Brent asked her out and she said yes because she thinks Brent’s earring and white jeans are really cool and . . . where were we?

Ah yes, record stores! They also sold cassettes. There was usually a rack of music magazines (also printed on paper) and sometimes AC/DC, Megadeth and Metallica badges that you could sew on your duffel coat.

Anyway, the excitement over the release of the new charts was easily quelled because the music in the charts was generally rubbish. Bros. Martika. Jive Bunny. New Kids On The Block.

The FIFA World Rankings are a bit the same. The only statistic that’s missing is “Weeks in the chart”.

The main reason for the singles chart’s existence was to have a clear measuring stick for doling out cocaine to A&R men/women/automatons at record companies.

The FIFA World Rankings also serve a purpose – generating publicity each month for FIFA and its presenting partner.

But interestingly enough, there is also a secondary reason for the FIFA World Rankings. A nation’s ranking could determine a player’s eligibility to play in certain foreign leagues under rule changes proposed England and Italy.

So for Australians wanting to play in leagues outside Australia – Australians who, through accident of birth, do not hold dual citizenship of any sort – Australia’s ranking in the world might become rather important.

Australia is ranked 94 out of 208 teams (as of 23 October).

Some perspective: Haiti is ranked 93. Haiti drew 0-0 with St. Kitts & Nevis (population 51,538) in its last game.

Oh well. Perhaps prospective professional footballers should find themselves a European spouse.