Tie-Breakers for Football Teams Level on Points

18 05 2009

coin

As far as I’m aware, every football league in the world uses number of points gained as the way to rank teams in a table. Everyone seems to agree that that’s definitely the way to go, and football is all the better for it.

But not everyone agrees on how to split teams that finish level on points. There are various methods used in various orders of preference by various soccer leagues. Goal difference, goals scored, head to head record, games won, a specially arranged playoff. Tossing a coin and drawing lots even comes into it, when things get desperate.

Here’s a(n incomplete list) of which football leagues use which tie-breakers (and in which order) when two or more teams finish level on points.


Argentina Primera Division: Playoff at neutral venue

Austrian Bundesliga: Goal difference, Goals scored

Belgium Jupiler League: Games won, Two-legged play-off

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A: Goal difference, Goals scored

English Premier League: Goal difference, Goals scored, Playoff at neutral venue

France Ligue 1: Goal difference, Goals scored

German Bundesliga: Goal difference, Goals scored, Head to head points, Head to head goal difference, Head to head away goals scored, Total away goals scored, Playoff at neutral venue

Super League Greece: Head to head points, Head to head goal difference, Playoff at neutral venue

Major League Soccer (USA): Head to head, Goal difference, Goals scored, Start tie-breakers again but away games only, And again with home games only, Fewest disciplinary points, Coin toss (no, seriously!)

Primera División de México: Goal difference, goals scored

Netherlands Eredivise: Goal difference, Total goals scored

Portuguese Liga: Head to head points, Head to head goal difference, Head to head away goals scored, Goal difference, Matches Won

Russian Premier League: Number of wins, Goal differece (But if to decide title then: Number of wins, head to head results, championship playoff at neutral venue)

Scottish Premier League: Goal difference, goals scored

Spain La Liga: Head to head points, Head to head goal difference, Head to head goals scored, Goal difference, Goals scored

Allsvenskan (Sweden): Goal difference, Goals scored

Turkish Süper Lig: Goal difference, Goals scored

Champions League group stage: Head to head points, Head to head goal difference, Away goals between tied teams, Goal difference, Goals scored, UEFA co-effecient points

World Cup 2010 group stage: Goal difference, Goals scored, Head to head points, Head to head goal difference, Drawing of lots

If any of the above is incorrect or incomplete, please let me know in the comments. And please do the same if you know the tie-breakers for any leagues not mentioned above. The goal here is to get a fairly conclusive list together that can be used for future reference.

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