Interesting ways GFA could’ve determined the final 19/20 season standings
The Ghana Football Association (GFA) cancelled the entire Ghana Premier League (GPL) season without declaring a winner or relegating any team.
In Italy, the Serie A halted and later restarted the league. However, one of their backup plans was to use a system to determine the final league standings in case the league was halted again due to COVID19.
Instead of cancelling the league, if the GFA had used a similar system to determine final rankings in the GPL, it would've been interesting to know what that will look like. I did just that and that's what this analysis is about.
Serie A’s System explained
Seria A’s system basically uses each team’s home and away points per game as a base to predict the number of points teams will win in their unplayed home and away matches.
All the predicted points from the unplayed matches are then added to the points won as at the time of halting.
Example: If a team wins 2 home games, they'll be averaging 3 points per home game. Meaning if this team has a home game to play, Serie A are predicting that they'll win 3 points in their yet-to-play home game because that's how they performed at home in the past. Same is done for the played away games and yet-to-play away games.
How that’ll look like for the GPL
How different the final table would look like compared to when the GPL was halted on Matchday 15.
Berekum Chelsea would’ve still led the league table. However, interestingly there’d be changes at the relegation zone with Ebusua Dwarfs leapfrogging Legon Cities. This is due to Ebusua Dwarfs slightly better home form, where they won 1.86 points per game at home unlike Legon Cities 1.5 points per game at home.
What this means for Clubs that (dis)agreed with the GFA’s league cancellation
The system’s impact on the 2 clubs who didn't want GFA to cancel the season would’ve been different: Medeama would move up into the 3rd position and Elmina Sharks down into 6th.
Their decision may be driven by their improving form before the cancellation. Both clubs had 3 wins in their last 5 games. The Top 2 teams were the only other clubs with such recent form. It shows they were on a good run.
Interestingly, Berekum Chelsea who are projected to still be Top of the GPL also agreed with the decision. King Faisal agreeing isn’t too surprising given the fact that they were struggling and a new season gives them time to restrategize. It’s also possible they’d have challenges guaranteeing their staff and players safety if the GPL were to go on.
Of course, this system isn't perfect because it favours teams that faced easier opponents. This means such teams will have a higher point per game tally. It also assumes that past success is guaranteed in the future when that isn’t always the case.
However, it offers a solution if the league couldn’t go on and somehow the FA needed a way to decide the final rankings. This is particularly important in leagues where they were so close to completion but stopped because of COVID19. Even if GFA had used a similar system, the metrics used are likely to be different since what’s deemed important differs in every league.
Only 44% of the 2019/20 matches had been played by the time the GPL was halted. The GFA would have probably found it difficult to justify declaring a league winner and relegating others when there was still a long way to go in the league. In the end, they used regulations to decide which teams compete in the Champions League.
Thanks for reading!