Play-offs in football: a good idea or not.

Discussion in 'Football' started by gerd, 16 May 2011.

  1. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    I'm starting this somewhat unusual thread, because of the Jupiler League and the exciting way this year's season will end.

    Two years ago the big Belgian clubs wanted to do something about the fact that they are midgets in Europe. They decided that Belgian teams needed to play more big matches and made a new competition format. I will not bore you with everything, but after the regular competition the best six teams play a round robin: eacht team plays the other five teams home and away: a win is 3 points, a draw 1 and a loss 0. The points earned in the regular competition ar halved and that is the starting point for the play-offs.
    On top of that there are useless play-offs for the other teams.

    Last year's play-offs were boring because Anderlecht had made a huge gap in the regular competition and were never threatened in the play-offs. On top of that big teams like Racing Genk and Standard didn't even made it to the play-offs.

    This year's play-offs are exciting. Anderlecht ended the regular competition with aa one point bonus on Racing Genk. Gent was third, Brugge fourth, Lokeren fifth and Standard sealed the last play-off place in the last minutes of the last match. They had a poor season due to loads of injury.

    Anderlecht collpased in the play-offs and Standard was fantastic, after 9 of the 10 matches Standard has 25 point out of a possible 27.
    Tomorrow is the last day of the play-offs: Standard and Genk have equal points and they play each other in Genk. So the calender has made a real final for the season which is exciting. Standard have to win, Genk are champions with a draw (due to the halving of the points, Genk lost a a semi moint and Standard didn't, this is taken in account when both clubs have equal points).

    Initially is was against play-offs. A regular competition is a very fair way to decide wich is the best team (after 30 matches).

    After what i've seen in the play-offs this year, i'm not so sure...we have seen lots of great matches with spectacle, everything that makes football exciting.

    What are your thoughts?

    Do you prefer a fair competition without play-offs or spectacle with play-offs?
  2. PLF

    PLF Legend

    2 August 2004
    I'm ABSOLUTELY against it!

    I HATE it and it's one reason I don't follow Belgian football at all anymore. Just like I stopped following Dutch Eredivisie completely for a couple years when they introduced Play-offs and luckily they took it off and saw it's ridiculous and defeats purpose of real normal league matches which are supposed to be decisive and ultimate.

    The fact that there's been some specatular matches this year and the table has worked out the way it has, is irrelevant in my opinon and only a short-term distraction from the real problem, unfair competition.

    Great matches/spectacles can be created under normal regular league formats and circumstances as evident in other countries.
  3. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    This must be the first time in all these years that i've read something that outspoken from you could have been one of my posts.

    I'm not so sure. As already said, i was against is unfair.
    But the positive point is that our better players learn to play important matches...if you have seen how Anderlecht's players choked against Partizan (qualification for the CL in august 2010) then maybe you would understand where i'm coming from.
  4. PLF

    PLF Legend

    2 August 2004
    I didn't see that game so yeah I don't know what you're talking about. But this type of game against other Belgian clubs though more pressure-training doesn't mean they won't choke again in Balkan countries and their hardcore fans, etc.

    At the end of the day, stepping out of your country into new atmospheres, stadiums you're not used to provides a different challenge. Especially when you face MASSIVE clubs like Dinamo Zagreb, Partizan, Red Star, Dinamo Kiev, etc. The pressure, the fans, the stadium will be very different than what likes of Gent will provide to Anderlecht players as possible training, so I don't think it's too big a factor.

    And yeah bro I was very outspoken in post above because THIS is something I feel very strongly for. Very strongly AGAINST!

    For me, it does a lot more BAD than it does GOOD. And it devalues the actual competition, league. Because games that aren't play off games become somewhat meaningless.

    Just look at what happened with Dutch Eredivisie a few years back as well with Ajax messing up in normal season to get in CL because of stupid unfair playoffs etc.

    It's almost like, well what is the point of regular games? For me EVERY game should be important unless it's a friendly and 100% given for by all 22 players. Because EVERY 3 points is massive! Do or die! The same way it is in EPL, La Liga, etc. With a play off system, you're getting rid of that in some way and bringing confusion and uncertainty and unnecessary 'cuteness' if I may say so in play....
  5. Nick Cave

    Nick Cave Wrexham fan for my sins...

    10 July 2004
    Non football league waste land...
    Wrexham AFC
    I think anything that sees a side finishing a 42 game season 4 places higher and 12-16 points better off miss out on promotion due to a play off where their best players could be out or missing is wrong but they are a way to extend the interest to the season, I don't agree with them personally but I can see why they do it..
  6. PLF

    PLF Legend

    2 August 2004
    Exactly. For me a league's champion like Man Utd this year is all about CONSISTENCY.

    Consistency through all moments. Bad moments, good moments (as Carlo Ancelotti says :LOL: ) , injuries, suspensions, etc.

    You have teams who played great before end up below others who were sub-par during most of season... for me it's just a mess and makes the league a bit of a circus and not 'proper'. Because the whole reason we have a LEAGUE is so we can see who the REAL champion is and what is the REAL place of every team. Which when you play 38 regular games like in EPL let's say shows and nobody can argue with that.

    That's why there's also knockout cup competitions like FA Cup and then the CL format which isn't ideal but as good as it can be given time restrictions.

    But a nation's league is supposed to provide exact ranking of how good each team is in relation to others and for me, a league with playoffs fails to do that accurately.
  7. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    It's a litle bit like asking the six best contenders in a marathon, to do an aditional 100 metres race and then decide that the winner of the 100 metres is the best marathon runner.

    I think that is a pretty good analogy...
  8. PLF

    PLF Legend

    2 August 2004

    Beautifully said my friend. And that for me sums up the very problem of Playoffs. Only you said it much better than I could and English is my first language lol.
  9. allezlinter

    allezlinter Champions League

    8 May 2009
    FC Internazionale

    Perfect analogy, and perfect reason to be against play-offs.
    With this kind of rule, i am pretty sure that the champions would be the richest clubs (because they have more players in the team).

    This is a good scheme in basket, but in football, we already have one or two national cups, so why put another direct-eliminating system ?
  10. lo zio

    lo zio International

    24 October 2005
    i completely agree with u guys. i've never been a fan of play-offs in domestic leagues... for all the reasons u guys already mentioned.
  11. S-NipE

    S-NipE World Cup Winner

    17 May 2008
    German NT
    This is exactly why I am against play-offs. The ones you described and the ones we see in Germany right now with the third of 2.Bundesliga has two play to game against the 16.(17. and 18. are relegated immediately) of 1.Bundesliga to promote, which is kind of unfair in my view as they had already a hard season with 34 regular matches, why for god's sake do they need the chance to loose it all in two games?
  12. PLF

    PLF Legend

    2 August 2004
    This type of play-off that Snipe mentioned I'm much more okay with.

    Because for me often times the 3rd worst team in Bundesliga is actually better and sometimes much better than the team that finished 3rd in 2.Bundesliga, so it'd make sense that they should retain their place in Bundesliga which is only 18 teams too as opposed to 20 like most others.

    THIS stuff I'm okay with... after all the worst 2 do go down and the top 2 from 2nd Bundesliga ARE coming up so it's not like they're getting screwed but does the 3rd team really deserve to? Is it better than 3rd worst team of Bundesliga, I bet most of the times no... so it's good for me that they face each other and over 2 legs, we can see which team deserves to be in which league.

    I'm still not a FAN of this idea, but I'm okay with it and actually think it's a decent idea and exciting.

    But the thing with Jupiler league let's say, I just find ridiculous! so these days I don't follow Belgian football at all! Maybe just some players here and there...
  13. sonoman

    sonoman Premiership

    13 November 2003
    Mexico / Türkiye
    well here in Mexico we have this weird Playoff scheme in which the best 8 teams (out of 3 uneven groups) qualify.. then they face 2-leg elimination in this order: 1vs 8, 2vs7, etc.

    oh, and it happens every 6 months.. so we pretty much have a different champion twice a year :/

    it actually gives us some memorable matches every once in a while but just on the playoff rounds, because during the 'regular' season it's an utter borefest

    no wonder why our national team is used to underachieve, specially if the league is full of local/foreign players who change teams like 3 times a year.. just a mercenary league is u ask me
  14. PLF

    PLF Legend

    2 August 2004
    I agree.

    That's why despite Mexican league having some really good players in it, it's another league I don't follow and never got into.

    I don't like the whole apertura/closura system in Latin America like Argentina as well, doesn't make much sense to me and the playoffs are a mess!
  15. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    The play-offs system in Belgium was championed by the big clubs. Anderlecht was their strongest partisan.
    I wonder if that club will change it's mind. Anderlecht won the regular competition with a bonus of 1 point to Racing Genk. They played bad in the play-offs and will finish third, for the first time in 9 years they will not have the chance to play the CL.

    This evening Genk faces Standard for the decider...Standard was 18 points behind Anderlecht in the regular competition. In the first match of the play-offs Standard fielded literally a reserve team against Anderlecht (you can compare this match with the Old Firm or the Classico) because they had to play the semi-final of the Cup which was more important for them. Against all odds and hopes, the reserve team beat Anderlecht 1-3 and suddenly Standard was flying...

    I'm pretty sure that Anderlecht will do everything to change the year there will still be play-offs but i'm sure something will change.
  16. PLF

    PLF Legend

    2 August 2004
    Hahaha that is just messed up it's better to not even get involved in...

    Another little exception to the rule is the playoff system in The Championship (England 2nd division). I like this system . But it's the exception. Because the play offs are at end of a long very important regular season where teams try to finish in top 6 out of 24 teams (not 18 or 20) and then #1 and #2 get promoted straight to EPL anyway so nobody is being screwed... now it's true that #3 deserves it a lot more than someone who finished 6th let's say! But it depends on point difference and these little 4-match semi-final like play offs between 3rd vs. 6th and 4th vs. 5th do make it very exciting and enjoyable and gives a LOT of teams out of the 24 HOPE for promotion (Like Blackpool last year) where as if top 3 really got promoted out of a BIG league of 24 teams and 46 matches then there wouldn't be as much excitement because realistically maybe only 6 teams had chances to finish in top 3. But when you give even the 6th team a possible chance... suddenly EVERYONE's fighting to get promoted to arguably the world's biggest league and get paid millions and get massive exposure so about 10 teams become candidates and it makes for the world's best 2nd division definitely in my opinion.

    I'm a big fan of The Championship and think it's the best in the world and in THIS case, it's due to a large extent thanks to the little play off at the end which has made the league much more exciting and yet not unfair like the whole marathon example above, etc. Though of course it's still not as fair as just 3rd team going up.
  17. frontliner28

    frontliner28 Howard Webb is a wanker!

    6 April 2010
    South Wales
    Cardiff City
    EDIT - I hate the playoffs.
    Last edited: 17 May 2011
  18. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    Well there was some justice in Racing Genk's win...the team that battled the entire season to be first became champions.

    In the last match Standard was clearly the better team but a 1-1 draw was enough for Genk to win their third title and this with a very young team, with 5 youth players...congratulations. All the pundits agree that the Genk deserved to be champions.
  19. fd1972uk

    fd1972uk ---------------------

    9 January 2002
    In terms of determining the championship, no way, that is a big no-no for me.

    I think the likes of relegation or European places are okay to a point.

    In Scotland we have a split towards the end of the season which is a piece of nonsense. Especially for the teams that finish in the bottom half. In Scotland I'd prefer to see the team who tops the bottom six play against the last team in our league who qualify for a Europa League place. The bottom team only is relegated in Scotland, but I'd like to see a 2 game playoff (or even a one-off neutral venue) between the 2nd bottom team in the SPL and the 2nd team in the 1st Division.

    I don't think you could mess around with the EPL format, and their lower league play-offs are good for me.


    ALBICELESTE2010 Champions League

    13 July 2006
    Argentina & Watford
    As an aside the leagues in the Benelux countries should merge to create more competition.

    As for playoffs they are tremendously exciting. Being a Watford fan we've had some great wins against Leeds and Crystal Palace and an absolute nailbiter against Birmingham in the last decade or so.

    On the other hand we finished ten points behind the third place side and so one felt sorry for them.

    The sole reason for the playoffs certainly here is once again money.

    Because the Premiership sides don't share gate receipts or an equitable division of the television revenue in the late eighties and early nineties it forced the Football League to create the playoffs as a way of making more money for the clubs outside of the top division.

    Otherwise I think it is ridiculous that over a season a side finishing third in many cases well clear of that in sixth can miss out.

    The same applies to there farce in rugby union.

    It's all down to mammon.
  21. Mark

    Mark il regista

    8 August 2005
    Þórshöfn, Føroyar
    Actually I'm fine with the German "Relegation" system. Also there is tradition of such games in Germany (from 1975 to 1991 and from 2009 til now). I also can deal with the playoff system in The Championship. But playoffs never should be used to determine championships...

    By the way... could someone please explain me the playoff system in Belgium?
  22. Jamezinho

    Jamezinho Golden Boot Winner

    10 June 2003
    Ipswich, England
    Ipswich Town F.C.
    As a follower of American sports I'm quite comfortable with play-offs and the concept of the best team in the regular season not winning the title. However I'm not sure it's something that should be applied to football, with it's long running traditions.

    Play-offs work really well for the English football league. When you have divisions of 24 teams then play-offs are essential to maintain interest towards the end of the season. Quite often the whole top-half of the table has a chance of getting promoted with a few games remaining, and this can only be a good thing. The English play-offs have created great opportunities for clubs like Blackpool, Burnley, Hull and Swindon to play in the Premier League.

    I also love the idea of a relegation play-off as used in Germany. This makes total sense and is a format I would like to see used in more leagues around Europe.

    However, using play-offs as a way of deciding a league winner is not something I agree with. I'm more comfortable with play-offs for European qualification spots as has been used in Holland recently.

    For me the clubs in Holland and Belgium are not addressing the real issue, something which Albiceleste has already mentioned above. The fact is football is dominated by money these days, and economies of scale. England, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and increasingly Russia have the most successful leagues because they have the largest populations and hence more clubs with large supporter bases, and huge markets and advertising revenues to tap into.

    Holland and Belgium are relatively small countries in Europe and can only support three, maybe four, truly big clubs each. In the past this wasn't a problem because the best Dutch and Belgian players played in those countries, and hence Anderlecht and Ajax were forces in Europe. Money has changed the game and the best Dutch and Belgian players move abroad, weakening their leagues.

    As Albiceleste said, the logical way forward is a merger of the Eredivise and Jupiler League to form a Benelux Super League. It makes absolute sense, given the small size of the two countries and commonalities in culture and language. With Ajax, PSV, Feyenoord, FC Twente, Club Brugge, Anderlecht and Standard Liege all playing in the same league you would get a much more interesting competition, with a higher standard of football, more big games, higher attendances, higher sponsorship revenues and TV deals, and hence more money for the clubs to attract or retain better players. It would benefit everyone.

    I think this is the way forward for many leagues across Europe. A pan-Scandinavian league would benefit that region and make their clubs more competitive. Similarly an Austrian-Swiss merger, or the Portuguese league merging with Spain could work well. This is the future of football in Europe, otherwise the big clubs will increasingly push for a European Superleague.
  23. kobayashi

    kobayashi League 1

    15 April 2011
    Dam Jamez i was just about to mention the Championship and League 1 & 2 playoffs! I share most of whats being said. Having a playoff to decide the champion completely undermines the league really! The best team over he course of the season should be crowned champion!

    But playoffs like in the championship for the last promotion place and the relegation playoff which is an idea which i think is genius! I think they are fantastic.

    The way the championship is set out. You normally have one team which is a little 'too' good QPR, Newcastle in recent years, then ten next, I'd say 14 clubs are all pretty equal, event he clubs below, are again pretty similar in talent but aren't run as well as the others. It is centered around money but it adds a huge amount of excitement for everyone. I love watching the playoff matches myself. So much emotion and drama! I would imagine the playoffs in Gemernay are the same, i like the concept. Are you good enough to be promoted? Then beat the 3rd worst team in the league above you.

    So basically it depends what the playoff is for really. For the Champion, NO and NO, but for promotion, relegation, I'm all for it!

    Sounds like a good idea.

    La Liga would be a very strong league if you added Porto and Benfica to it! I mean i could see Sporting sorting themselves out, that would be a pretty mean league!
  24. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    Very good post Jamezinho.
    In the not so distant past there wer talks about a BeNe-league but for some reason things didn't work out.
    There was also an idea for a joint league for Belgian, Dutch, Portugese and Scottish clubs...but this seems rather farfetched IMO...
  25. Jamezinho

    Jamezinho Golden Boot Winner

    10 June 2003
    Ipswich, England
    Ipswich Town F.C.
    I'd be interested to know what those reasons were? The prospect of regular matches such as Ajax v Anderlecht and Club Brugge v PSV would be quite tasty in my opinion. Travel wouldn't be a problem because you can go from the top of Holland to the south of Belgium in a few hours. Both countries are culturally similar on and off the pitch, and I think there would be some great rivalries.

    If any leagues were to merge Holland and Belgium would make the most sense, logistically, culturally, and be of benefit to both nations.

    I hope it does happen sometime soon. It saddens me to see former giants like Ajax and Anderlecht struggling to make an impact in European football.

    The Atlantic League. Yes, I remember that being proposed a few years ago and it's not something I'm in favour of. Firstly, the logistics of it is unfeasible. The distances involved are too large and would prove costly for the teams and fans. Secondly there is a big difference in football culture between these countries on the pitch and I just don't think it would work.
  26. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    I don't know why what the exact reasoning against a BENE-league were.
    Oh, Jamezinho, the cultural differences between Holland and Belgium are rather big.
  27. Jamezinho

    Jamezinho Golden Boot Winner

    10 June 2003
    Ipswich, England
    Ipswich Town F.C.
    I'm sure they are, but in terms of a BE-NE league is it an issue? Belgians (at least the Flemish) must understand the Dutch and vice-versa? They both like beer, what more do you want?

    I have been to Belgium and have a Flemish auntie and it's a lovely country by the way. I love a Hoegaarden.:COOPZ:

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