World Cup Referees Route to the Final

Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson did not get a game in the quarter finals of the World Cup in Brazil. I got into a discussion on Twitter if he has refereed his last game in the tournament and decided to take a look in the last five World Cups played. What I came up with is that it is hard to understand how FIFA choose their World Cup referees for the final stages.

Route to the final stages for the World Cup referees in the last five tournaments.

So, what can we say about this? Some interesting things about World Cup referees and how they are chosen in the very final stages are:

  • The ref in the final did not have a semi final in any case. Two had one game in the round of sixteen and no more, two had one quarter final and nothing more, and one (Said Belqola, Morocco) did not refereed any game after the group stage before the final! Hence, it is still possible for Jonas Eriksson to reach the final! (However, I do not believe that he will have a chance if a team from Europe faces a team from South America.)
  • No World Cup referee in the third-place match did have another game after the group stage!
  • In seven of the twenty matches investigated a referee from the round of sixteen has been chosen and in each tournament one or two refs from the round of sixteen got another game in the very last stages.

UPDATE 1: As @Abay_Anzali pointed out, and I did not think of, things are even more complicated since Jonas Eriksson got the position as fourth official in the quarter final (France-Germany). FIFA does probably not want Eriksson to be in charge of any these two teams’ matches again and there is perhaps no game left for him.

UPDATE 2: Here you can read more about all World Cup referees. Especially:

Jonas Eriksson, Sweden – Late knockout round game, and fourth official in quarterfinals. Probably out.

The only thing we can take for granted at the moment is that we cannot take anything for granted. Jonas Eriksson might get another game as a World Cup referee in 2014, but the probability is perhaps low.


Panel discussion II: Predictive sports betting analytics

The second panel discussion from MIT Sloan’s sports analytics conference I listened to was about analytics in betting and sports prediction. The soccer analystics discussion I listened to first was interesting!

The discussion about predictive sports betting was interesting even though nothing new really came out. Participating were Jeff Ma (Moderator), member of the famous MIT Blackjack Team; Matthew Holt, Director at Cantor Gaming; Chad Millman, Editor in Chief and betting blogger at ESPN the Magazine; and Haralabos Voulgaris, professional punter.


Soccer analytics panel discussion

MIT Sloan holds a very interesting sport analytics conference each year. The 2013 conference was held a couple of months back and I have started to dig into the extensive range of video conferences available on their website. Here is a very interesting panel discussion about football (soccer) analytics, featuring Chris Anderson, the great football (or soccer) analytics blogger and author of the new book The Numbers Game, which I will dig into soon.

The 2012 conference is also available on the web. The soccer analytics panel discussion – with former star defender Alexi Lalas and others – is available here. The ice hockey analytics discussion – with dinosaur Brian Burke, Boston Bruins’ general manager Peter Chiarelli and others – is available here.


Panel discussion II: Predictive sports betting analytics