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See detailThe Probabilistic Final Standing Calculator: a fair stochastic tool to handle abruptly stopped football seasons
Ley, Christophe UL; Van Eetvelde, Hans; Magnus Hvattum, Lars

in AStA Advances in Statistical Analysis (2021)

The COVID-19 pandemic has left its marks in the sports world, forcing the full stop of all sports-related activities in the first half of 2020. Football leagues were suddenly stopped, and each country was ... [more ▼]

The COVID-19 pandemic has left its marks in the sports world, forcing the full stop of all sports-related activities in the first half of 2020. Football leagues were suddenly stopped, and each country was hesitating between a relaunch of the competition and a premature ending. Some opted for the latter option and took as the final standing of the season the ranking from the moment the competition got interrupted. This decision has been perceived as unfair, especially by those teams who had remaining matches against easier opponents. In this paper, we introduce a tool to calculate in a fairer way the final standings of domestic leagues that have to stop prematurely: our Probabilistic Final Standing Calculator (PFSC). It is based on a stochastic model taking into account the results of the matches played and simulating the remaining matches, yielding the probabilities for the various possible final rankings. We have compared our PFSC with state-of-the-art prediction models, using previous seasons which we pretend to stop at different points in time. We illustrate our PFSC by showing how a probabilistic ranking of the French Ligue 1 in the stopped 2019–2020 season could have led to alternative, potentially fairer, decisions on the final standing. [less ▲]

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