Thursday, October 29, 2015

Scottish Football : Premiership Split System & Promotion Play-Off

Assalammualaikum everyone!

So from last entry I have told about what and how Scotland run its football season that quite little bit different than most of the leagues in Europe. But over the seasons, Premiership Split System and Promotion Play-Off still presence a problems to everyone.

In this entry we will talk on how this two mechanism can be apply in our Liga with some adjustment.

1.0 Premiership Split System

This system is to avoid all 12 teams in Scottish top flight to play 44 games per season as they need to play 4 rounds. To make it 38 games same as other leagues, they will split 12 teams into 2 group which called as Championship group (Top 6) and Relegation Group (Bottom 6). Every time when the split come, everyone in Scotland will raise their voices to show their disagreement about this system. This is because the possibility of playing an unbalanced home and away matches against certain opposition. Back to pre-season when SPFL made an odd for each 12 team of where they will finish after 33 games, if any teams finished in a place in a place that not in the prediction they will face the possibility to play 3 home matches and 1 away match against some opponents and vice versa. For example, if Dundee United were predicted to finish 5th but the finish 7th after 33 games; the match between them and St. Johnstone who finished 8th which is in SPFL's  prediction so the matches between them will be unbalanced. It will not favor the United as they will play unbalance home and away games, their traveling cost will be risen if they need to play more away matches and of course the feeling, playing at home and away from your ground is different though..

2.0 Promotion Play-Off

In Scotland, 4 teams will participate the play-off in order to get one place to higher division. 3 teams from lower division (2nd-4th) and one team from higher division the finished 11th in a league. This play-offs have 3 phase with first one is quarter final between 3rd placed team against the 4th in lower division. They will play against each other in two-legged games. The winner will advance to semi-final and meet the 2nd placed team and play the match with same rules. The winner of semi-final will advance to promotion play-off finals against the team 11th placed in higher division and they will play in the same rule. Many of the people in Scotland feel discomfort with this kind of rules because for them the play-off must be in one-off match and should be done at national stadium. Micheal Gannon from Daily Record have said that " What the heck were they thinking in making the first leg the Thursday before the final and the second just 24 hours later?“ This is because the final for promotion play-off is during the Thursday, Scottish Cup final on Sunday and second leg of play-off is on Monday. This is because in past 10 years at least 3 of Championship teams were involved in promotion play-off final and Scottish Cup final in same time. They were Gretna (2006), Queen of The South (2008) and Ross County (2010). Gannon also questioned why they cannot have it on national stadium just like England done for so many years. He stated that the final might only between Watford and Burton Albion but the atmosphere is stunning. Finally the play-offs always overrun the players contract because most of the contract ends in end of May but the final always in June.

3.0 What if we use this both methods in our Liga?

For a short term. split system will benefit all teams as they will more matches and they can rotate the squad. But do not repeat the mistake by SPFL that the chart will not change after 33 games because it will effect the prize money. For the play-offs, the idea came when some of our fans wants to see 3 teams in Liga Perdana going up to Liga Super. So the play-offs will have 4 teams but no teams will get a "bye" but instead they will each other in mini league with round-robin format or all teams are qualify to semi finals and the play-offs starts there. That's my view, what say you?

4.0 Conclusion

Even their system not that perfect, but Scottish football system gives us an idea to make a better system as they offer us a quite good system for a small league. Thanks to all for read this, next stop we will jet to USA for a Major League Soccer. See ya!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Scottish Football : The Small-Big-League

assalammualaikum and hello everyone, now I'm back again for posting so of my creative writing since now I am enjoying my semester break. haha so this is some of the factual writing and I guess the longest post that I have ever write. so enjoy!

Talking about Scottish Football in Malaysia, majority of us only know about Celtic, Rangers and some of it only know about Heart of Midlothian (Hearts). Yeah, this is because The Old Firm clubs have dominated the Scottish football for many years and they also have a fans across the globe. But then, how football in Scotland be play? This entry will tell you why.

1.0 Why is it called as The Small-Big-League ?

This is just a thought from me, because in Scotland they have 42 teams that playing in Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) and they have 4 divisions in total. Why I'm saying like that? This is because in England, 42 teams only just from Premiership to Championship but here in Scotland 42 teams is from the Premiership until League 2. SPFL is a combination of Scottish Premier League (SPL) and Scottish Football League (SFL) that merge during 2013. Unlike England, SPFL covers all divisions in top tier of Scottish Football from Premiership until League 2, but in England the Premier League is handle by Premier League and Championship to League 2 is handle by Football League. Scottish Premiership consists 12 teams while for Championship until League they have only 10 teams.

2.0 How SPFL works?

The regular season in Scotland is from August until May the following year. sounds like the normal league in Europe right? But how can 10 to 12 teams manage to play in such a long time like that? did they have a long gap between matches? the answer is no. For the Championship until League 2, 10 teams will playing each other 10 times (9 games x 4 = 36 games). As for Premiership, the top flight using a 3+1 mechanism. That's mean all 12 teams must play each other 3 times (11 games x 3 = 33 games) as to make 38, they need to play another five matches using split system by split 12 teams into 2 group. For top 6 it will called as a Championship group while bottom 6 is called as a Relegation Group. Teams in each group will play each other based on who is their opponent in the same group. (33 games + 5 games in split group = 38 games)

3.0 Promotion , Relegation and Promotion Play-Off

As for this matter, no promotion for the champions of Premiership as it has been the top flight in Scottish football. For champions of each divisions from Championship until League 2 they will gain a direct promotion to higher division. For relegation, the last team in all divisions will play in lower division next season while the last team in League 2 will play in either Highland League or Lowland League based on their location in Scotland map. For promotion play-off, 2nd until 4th team in lower division will play with 11th place team in higher division.

* Premiership Split System and Promotion Play-Off have their own problems that always be debated by football fans in Scotland. It will be explain on next entry.

4.0 European Qualifications

For European qualifications, UEFA have given 4 places to Scotland clubs to play in UCL and UEL. But due to lack of point in UEFA Coefficients Point System, all places given by UEFA are only a qualification spot not automatic. Champions of Premiership will get a ticket to UCL qualification round. For 2nd and 3rd place team, they will get a ticket to UEL qualification round 1 as the one place left is for the Scottish Cup champions. The winner of Scottish Cup will get a qualification spot for UEL (round 2) . In 2014/15 season, Inverness Caledonian Thistle have the Scottish Cup and finished their league campaign on 3rd place, because they have 2 tickets to UEL qualification, 1 spot has been given to St. Johnstone who finished 4th in a league last season.

5.0 Other competitions during league season
Just other countries, Scotland also have the cup competition during league season. 3 cups will be contested by all teams, The Scottish League Cup, Scottish Cup and Petrofac Training Cup. For League Cup, only teams from SPFL will play in this tournament. They will play in knockout match every round and if the score is tied then extra time and shoot-out will be used. No replay for League Cup. For Scottish Cup, all teams from SPFL and Highland League and Lowland League will playing in this tournament. This time, it has a replay if score is tied and if the score still tied after replay then extra time and shoot-out will be applied if needed. For Petrofac Training Cup, only teams from Championship until League 2 will participate and it use same rules as League Cup.
6.0 Unique in Scottish Football
Unlike other countries, Scottish football did not have the opener of the season just like Supercopa De Espana in Spain and Community Shield in England. In Scotland they have a Flag Day. Flag Day is a day when the champions off all divisions will raise the flag indicating them as the league champions of last season. It will take place during first game of the season. The other thing is, the match ball used by the Premiership teams. The ball sponsor Mitre has done a great job by making a match ball with different stripes using a colour of every Premiership teams (Match ball sponsor in MSL should do this). For example, for Partick Thistle it will have yellow and red stripes on it as for Dundee United, it will have orange colour and black. You can the pics below : 
6.1 Flag Day
Credit : Google Images

6.2 Premiership teams match ball

7.0 : Conclusion

Scottish football might not as competitive as La Liga or Premier League but then it's still football and still fun to watch. Scottish football provides you with other excitement about football from the old fashioned stadiums to its atmosphere itself. It also gives the other choice for anybody about how football be play in other of the world. It is sure that so much thing I want to tell about Scottish football but I put it on hold for a while. Next entry we will talk about the Split System and Promotion Play-Off. Thank for reading.

See ya!