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European qualifiers to the 2018 FIFA World Cup can be manipulated


  • Csató, László


Tournament organizers supposedly design rules such that a team cannot be better off by exerting a lower effort. It is shown that the European qualifiers to the 2018 FIFA World Cup are not strategy-proof in this sense: a team might be eliminated if it wins in the last matchday of group stage, while it advances to play-offs by playing a draw, provided that all other results do not change. An example reveals that this scenario could have happened in October 2017, after four-fifth of all matches have already been played. We present a model and identify nine incentive incompatible qualifiers to recent UEFA European Championships or FIFA World Cups. A mechanism is suggested in order to seal the way of manipulation in group-based qualification systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Csató, László, 2017. "European qualifiers to the 2018 FIFA World Cup can be manipulated," MPRA Paper 82652, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:82652

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Giora Slutzki & Oscar Volij, 2006. "Scoring of web pages and tournaments—axiomatizations," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 26(1), pages 75-92, January.
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    6. Dagaev, Dmitry & Sonin, Konstantin, 2013. "Winning by Losing: Incentive Incompatibility in Multiple Qualifiers," CEPR Discussion Papers 9373, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Satterthwaite, Mark Allen, 1975. "Strategy-proofness and Arrow's conditions: Existence and correspondence theorems for voting procedures and social welfare functions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 187-217, April.
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    11. Durán, Guillermo & Guajardo, Mario & Sauré, Denis, 2017. "Scheduling the South American Qualifiers to the 2018 FIFA World Cup by integer programming," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 262(3), pages 1109-1115.
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    Cited by:

    1. László Csató, 2018. "Was Zidane honest or well-informed? How UEFA barely avoided a serious scandal," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 38(1), pages 152-158.

    More about this item


    OR in sport; 2018 FIFA World Cup; tournament ranking; mechanism design; strategy-proofness;

    JEL classification:

    • C44 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Operations Research; Statistical Decision Theory
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations

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