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Seeding the UEFA Champions League participants: evaluation of the reforms


  • Dagaev Dmitry

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Myasnitskaya Street 20, Moscow 101000, Russian Federation)

  • Rudyak Vladimir Yu.

    () (Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russian Federation)


We evaluate the sporting effects of the seeding system reforms in the Champions League, the major football club tournament organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Before the 2015–2016 season, the teams were seeded in the group stage by their ratings. Starting from the 2015–2016 season, national champions of the Top-7 associations are seeded in the first pot, whereas other teams are seeded by their rating as before. Taking effect from the season 2018–2019, the team’s rating no longer includes 20% of the rating of the association that the team represents. Using the prediction model, we simulate the whole UEFA season and obtain numerical estimates for competitiveness changes in the UEFA tournaments caused by these seeding reforms. We report only marginal changes in tournament metrics that characterize ability of the tournament to select the best teams and competitive balance. Probability of changes in the UEFA national association ranking does not exceed several percent for any association.

Suggested Citation

  • Dagaev Dmitry & Rudyak Vladimir Yu., 2019. "Seeding the UEFA Champions League participants: evaluation of the reforms," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 15(2), pages 129-140, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jqsprt:v:15:y:2019:i:2:p:129-140:n:2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Scarf, Philip & Yusof, Muhammad Mat & Bilbao, Mark, 2009. "A numerical study of designs for sporting contests," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 198(1), pages 190-198, October.
    2. Koning, Ruud H. & Koolhaas, Michael & Renes, Gusta & Ridder, Geert, 2003. "A simulation model for football championships," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 148(2), pages 268-276, July.
    3. Siem Jan Koopman & Rutger Lit, 2015. "A dynamic bivariate Poisson model for analysing and forecasting match results in the English Premier League," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 178(1), pages 167-186, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Corona, Francisco & Forrest, David & Tena, J.D. & Wiper, Michael, 2019. "Bayesian forecasting of UEFA Champions League under alternative seeding regimes," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 722-732.

    More about this item


    competitive balance; Monte-Carlo simulations; seeding; tournament; UEFA Champions League;

    JEL classification:

    • Z20 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics - - - General
    • C44 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Operations Research; Statistical Decision Theory


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