Saturday 14 July 2012

Probably the most uncompetitive league in the world....

If one believes all spouted by the Premier League's propaganda machinery then the PL is the most competitive and the finest league in the world.  Like all things related to complex statistics, one can always find numbers to back up any argument, but overall one has to objectively look at trends to see where the truth lies in this debate, is the Premier League really that competitive?

The featured graph above shows that the reducing competitively of the PL should be something that concerns us.  The top teams are picking up more points per game and the lesser teams are picking up fewer points per game than in days of old.  This is not isolated to the PL, the same worrying trend is apparent in the Italian and Spanish leagues.

There are many other measures which demonstrate the lack of competitively in the PL, here the Guardian uses a points based measure to show how the gap between top and bottom in England is highest, as is the gap from 4th to 4th bottom, and this is out of all the major footballing leagues in the World!  Another excellent Guardian article shows how things have got steadily less competitive in the last thirty years.  It is simple utter rubbish to claim that the PL is an open and competitive league, the statistics show that it is getting less and less competitive over time, and that it is one of the least competitive leagues in the world!

The financial inequality in the PL is of even greater concern.  Numerous reliable and valid measures of inequality show that the trend in the PL is towards more and more domination by the rich few at the top.  The Four-Firm Concentration Ratio (CR4) and Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) give this game away, as does the worrying trend away from the Lorenz curve.  The rise in inequality is well shown by the fact that in 2009/10, 75% of the cumulative £XI (average cost of starting eleven over season) is in the top 8 clubs, ten years earlier the figure was only 45%.

The unsustainable spending by the morally bankrupt clubs in the PL is wrecking the game, I rest my case, things are getting worse and worse, the PL is becoming more and more predictable.  Of course we now have some great world class players on show thanks to the ill gotten gains of Abrahmovich et al, however is this a price worth paying to have a league that is in danger of becoming one of the dullest and least competitive in world sport?  I would argue strongly no, we badly need some tough regulation of football to ensure that it is more competitive, a strategy that has worked well in the US and Australia is salary caps.

Obviously there is precious little chance of that happening with our deeply corrupt and money grabbing governing bodies which include the PL, the FA, UEFA and FIFA.  Financial Fair Play is not designed to stop the unsustainable spending funded by rich investors, it is there to avoid debt, so anyone hoping FFP will do anything to make things a bit more competitive and exciting is in for a nasty surprise.  If nothing is done then the PL will simply continue down this road towards total dullness and a complete lack of competition.  Maybe Chelsea and City fans will enjoy this in the short term, unfortunately we will all be losers in the long term.  Just don't believe the hype from the PL press office and Sky Sports, the PL is not a competitive league, it is a very dull one, relatively speaking.


bez said...

ummm .. this doesnt show anything! of course the bottom 5 average less points, strange that the top 5 average the most eh. and i bet i can guess whos in the middle of that graph.....the middle 10? strange article

1979gooner said...


oh dear

read it again

the average points of top sides is going up and that of lower sides going down, season on season

this demonstrates a clear trend towards reducing competitivity

Unknown said...

I think that this article is giving too simplistic a view and if you look at the graph over the last 2-3 years (in which time money being spent by rich clubs has had a chance to trickle down) then you can see a drop in the top level clubs points and a rise in the lower level clubs. As he stated you can draw any conclusions you want and that is exactly what he has done. The fact remains that in terms of actually what happens in a premier league season we see smaller teams upsetting the bigger clubs a lot more frequently and certainly much more open, adrenalin fuelled games. So it is certainly competitive, it is more down to the fact that the smaller clubs have more difficulty in sustaining good runs due to numerous factors that results in them finishing where they do. Look at Newcastle as a perfect example of when it all comes together.

DocBrody said...


1. The average overall quality of teams in the EPL is higher than other leaugues. There are high school 'soccer' leagues in America that are more competitive by your definition, but who cares.

2. The top 2 or 3 teams in the EPL do rotate from year to year.

3. It is possible for any team in the EPL to beat any other team in the EPL on any given day. In fact this happens enough that no team in the EPL, even the top teams, can afford to take any game for granted - it's the fastest way to lose a lead in the title chase.

If you take all three of the above points into account, you really can't argue that any other Leaugue is truly as competitive as the EPL - no matter how you try to slice the numbers.

1979gooner said...

Ho Ho


nonsense, there is no evidence to back this up, the little teams upset the big teams less in the PL elsewhere!

the trend of more domination and smaller teams struggling more is long term, over many many years

the trickling down argument is just plain daft, it should have been trickling down since PL formed, hasn't happened, backed up by financial ineqaulity data!

wrong again


how do you come to that conclusion in 1?

the average quality is higher, is it?

actually the midtable sides in the PL are not obivously better than Spanish/German/Italian sides in my opinion

the record of our clubs in the Europa League seems to demonstrate this nicely

there has been precious little rotation from year to year, yes when a new tycoon has come along, as in with City, this has resulted in a change, same with Chelsea, but make no mistake, no sides are rising up the table without massive investment from tycoons, this is no a competitive league! ridiculous argument

3 - poor argument

it is possible, as it is in all league, however the numerous references I have linked to show that this happens way less than in other leagues, the PL is relatively less competitive

Generally your arguments are poorly constructed and don't cut the statistics, let alone the mustard

Unknown said...

1979 gooner. How can that argument be daft when clubs are all the more willing to pay over the odds for players from within the English league which smaller clubs have in turn used to garner talent from other european leagues. Transfer prices were a lot more sensible 5+ years ago. Those smaller clubs that are struggling can nearly always be linked with poor management from the business side, for example portsmouth. And as for there being no evidence about 'giant killing' well as you are aware statistics exist for everything nowadays and it is not exactly an unquantifiable point

Unknown said...

p.s, i live in Spain and watch a lot of La Liga where 'giant killings' that occur with regular frequency in England happen a lot less so in Espana, Real Madrid just got a record number of points and in Italy Juventus did not lose a game.

1979gooner said...


I agree, other leagues have big problems too

However the fact that the competitivity in England has been steadily dropping for >20yrs is a cause for concern for me

Realistically I cannot see it being tackled and if this is the case it is no good for fans, still there will be leagues like Germany that will probably gain in the long term from being more competitive