Thursday, 27 December 2012

Scottish Football: League reconstruction

With all the talk of SPL and SFL reconstruction going on, I will talk you through the proposed formats for the SPL and SFL.
Firstly a little bit of history,( before the SPL was created) the SFL had two divisions of 18 and 20. The leagues in the final season of this structure can be seen below:
Scottish First Divison 1974-75 (Top 10 promoted to new Premier Division)
4Dundee United34197872432945
7Ayr United34148125061-1136
9St Johnstone341112114144-334
13Partick Thistle341010144862-1430
15Dunfermline Athletic3479184666-2023
1974-75 Scottish Second Division (Top 6 promoted to First Division) Note: Medowbank were a new team
2Queen of the South38237877334453
4Hamilton Academical382171069303949
5East Fife382071157421547
6St. Mirren381981174522246
8Stirling Albion381791267551243
9Berwick Rangers38176155349440
10East Stirlingshire38168145652440
12Albion Rovers38167157264839
13Raith Rovers38149154844437
15Alloa Athletic381111164956-733
16Queen’s Park381010184154-1330
17Brechin City3897224485-4125
18Meadowbank Thistle3895242687-6123  
20Forfar Athletic38173027102-759
At the end of this season, the leagues were reconstructed into three divisions of 10, 14 and 14. This meant that the top ten teams in Division One entered the new Premier Division, while the rest of the Division One clubs entered the new First Division. This new structure was created to increase interest in the league as attendances were dropping at an alarming rate.

This 38 team structure stayed until 1992 as it was tweaked to become leagues of 12, 12 and 14. Two years later the league system changed again, to include a fourth-tier to make all leagues have 10 teams. Highland league outfit Ross County and new team Inverness Caley Thistle (a merger of Highland league teams Inverness Thistle and Inverness Caley) were placed into Division 3 (ring a bell), also three points were awarded for a win instead of two.

On 8 September 1997, the football clubs in the Premier Division decided to split from the Scottish Football League and form the Scottish Premier League, following the Premiership in England, which came into force during the 1992–93 season. This decision was fuelled by a desire by the top clubs in Scotland to retain more of the revenue generated by the game. Originally, league sponsorship money was divided proportionally between clubs in all four divisions. After the SPL was formed, its clubs retained all of its commercial revenues except for an annual payment to the SFL and a parachute payment to relegated clubs.

 In 1999 there was a increase from 10 clubs to 12 was part of the deal offered to obtain approval from SFL member clubs. Since then, the SPL has operated a "split league format" to prevent the need for a 44-game schedule, which was once used in the Scottish Premier Division, but is now considered to be too high a number of games in a league season. The current system is below:
1Scottish Premier League
(Clydesdale Bank Premier League)
12 clubs
2Scottish Football League First Division
(Irn-Bru Scottish Football League First Division)
10 clubs
3Scottish Football League Second Division
(Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Second Division)
10 clubs
4Scottish Football League Third Division
(Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Third Division)
10 clubs

These are the facts that we know will change according to BBC Sport Scotland:
  • The SPL and SFL will merge into one body at the start of season 2013-14 again as the SPFL.
  • Play-offs between the top two divisions will be introduced in time for the coming season with one team from the top flight and three from the second tier competing for a place in the following season's SPL
  • There will be an increase in the parachute payments made to clubs relegated from the SPL
  • Changes will be made to the distribution model for clubs in the top two tiers with teams in the lower leagues earning a similar amount to the current set-up
  • A new pyramid system will become effective from season 2014-15 that will allow a potential place in the new league format for a team from either the Highland league or newly-created 'Lowland League'

There are many proposals for SPL reconstruction here are the two main ones.

Proposal A - 16 teams - backed by the SFL and I

This Proposal is a 16 team league would be a 37 game season with a home and away then a split it would include the current twelve SPL sides and the top 4 in SFL1 which is at the minute Partick, Dunfermiline, Morton and Livingstone. Neil Doncaster the SPL chief executive is against the 16 team league. SFL chief David Longmuir wants a system 16, 10 and 18 with Rangers and Celtic Reserves playing in the the lower leagues. It is unlikely that this will be successful as most SPL clubs are against this.

Proposal B - 12 teams and SPL2

The SPL have voted for this as their favourite, the top 12 SFL will be invited to a new SPL2. A lot of fans are against this if it means that The Rangers Football Club are parachuted into SPL2. There will be two leagues of 12 under this proposal, in each league there will be 22 game normal season then the top 8 of SPL will play for the league whilst retaining their previous points from the 22 game season. The bottom 4 of SPL and the top 4 in SPL 2 so 4 teams could be relegated or none could be relegated. The bottom 8 SPL2 teams play to stay in the league whilst retaining their points. This is a 36 game season.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Rugby World Cup 2015

Pool A
 Australia (3)
 England (5)
 Wales (9)
Oceania 1 (Fiji) (13)
 Repêchage winner

Australia will be wanting to emulate the two times the tournament was in Britain as their were winners both times. The host nation will be very keen to win on home soil and win the trophy for the first time since the infamous Johnny Wilkinson drop goal in 2003.  Wales will be wanting to better their result at the last world cup when the reached the semis. My bet for this Group is that Australian and Wales go through as I can see England being very cocky at their home tournament. Fiji haven't qualified yet but will have a play-off against a real minnow like the Cook Islands.

Last times:

17 November 2012  England 14-20 Australia Twickenham 
25 February 2012 England 12-19 Wales Twickenham 
1 December 2012 Wales 12-14 Australia Millennium 

Pool B
 South Africa (2)
 Samoa (8)
 Scotland (12)
Asia 1 (Japan) (15)
Americas 2

The best Group of them all! The Scots will be looking for a good performance after their first ever group-stage exit RWC 2011 in New Zealand, 2012 Autumn Internationals after losing all three games and recent Six Nations results. South Africa will want a repeat from the last time the world cup was in the Northern hemisphere, France 2007 when they won. Samoa will want to a repeat from the 1991 World Cup when were beaten by Scotland at Murrayfield in the Quarter-Final stage and in 1995 when they were beaten by the host Springbok. Japan haven't qualified yet but are favourites to their best performance was a 3rd place in their group in 1991. My bet is Scotland as group winners and the Springbok as runner's up. 

Last time:
30 September 2011
       South Africa
   13 - 5
 North Harbour Stadium

17 November 2012
  10 - 21
 South Africa

23 June 2012
 16 - 17
 Apia Park

Pool C

The All-Blacks will be looking to retain their title in England with a good start against the pumas and Tonga. The Kiwi's fantastic performance on home soil proved to be too much and will want to replicate that in RWC 2015. Although they have never won the Webb Ellis Cup away from home. Argentina are a threat as in France they ended up third beating Scotland, Ireland and hosts France twice. Tonga beat Scotland recently and will be wanting to continue this form going into this tournament. My bet is New Zealand and Argentina to go through.

Last time:
29 September 2012
15 - 54
 New Zealand
 Estadio Ciudad de La Plata

09 September 2011
 New Zealand
41 - 10
 Eden Park

Argentina and Tonga have never played

Pool D

The French will be wanting to improve on their runners-up spot in New Zealand losing to the All-Blacks by 1 point have a tricky group as Ireland and Italy have beat France recently. Ireland have never been past the quarters but will be wanting to stop that in England. The Italians have never been out the group but have chance to take that monkey of their backs at RWC 2015. My bet is for Ireland and France to go through to the Quarter Finals.

Last time:
04 March 2012
17 - 17
 Stade de France

25 February 2012
42 - 10
 Aviva Stadium
 04 February 2012
30 - 12
 Stade de France

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Champions League Possibilites

Here is the possibilities for who can go through from each Group in the Champions League.

Group A

Portugal Porto541092+713
France Paris Saint-Germain5401122+1012
Ukraine Dynamo Kyiv511359−44
Croatia Dinamo Zagreb5005013−130
 The only thing to be decided here is who will be top.
For Porto to top the Group:
  • They must draw or win against PSG
For PSG to win the Group:

  • They must beat Porto

Group B

Germany Schalke 04532095+411
England Arsenal531196+310
Greece Olympiacos520378−16
France Montpellier5014511−61
Again the only thing to be decided is who wins Group B
For Schalke to win Group:
  • They must win vs Montpellier or,
  • If they draw or lose Arsenal must win in Greece.
For Arsenal to top Group:
  • Must win in Greece and Schalke must not win in France.

Group C

Spain Málaga (Group Winners)5320103+711
Italy Milan522175+28
Russia Zenit St. Petersburg511359−34
Belgium Anderlecht511372−54
Only 3rd Place to be decided here:
For whatever team to stay third:
  • They must better each others result or,
  • If they both win :
  • Anderlecht must beat Malaga by at least two more goals than what Zenit have beat Milan by.
  • If they match each others result the Belgium's will go out.
  • If they both lose:
  • Anderlecht must lose to the Italians by two less goals than what Zenit have been beaten by.

Group D

Germany Borussia Dortmund (GW)5320105+511
Spain Real Madrid5221118+38
Netherlands Ajax5113712−54
England Manchester City5032710−33
Again only 3rd can be decided.
For Man City to be 3rd:
  • They must win and hope that Ajax don't
For Ajax to be third:
  • They must win or,
  • If they lose or draw must hope that Man City don't win.

Group E

Ukraine Shakhtar Donetsk5311127+510
Italy Juventus5230114+79
England Chelsea5212109+17
Denmark Nordsjælland5014316−131
Two things are up for Grabs in this group which are:

1. Group Winners:
For Shakhtar to stay top they must:
  • Draw with or beat Juventus.
For Juventus to take top spot they must:
  • Beat Shakhtar Donestk
2. Group Runners-Up
For Juventus to stay second they must:
  • Draw or win in Ukraine or,
  • lose and hope that Chelsea don't win
For Chelsea to go second:
  • The Londoners must beat the Danes and hope that Juventus lose at the Dombass Arena.

Group F

Germany Bayern Munich5311116+510
Spain Valencia5311115+610
Belarus BATE Borisov5203811−36
France Lille5104412−83
The only thing to decide in Group F is who wiil win it.
For Bayern to top the group:

  • The men from Munich must win or, match Valencia's result
For Valencia to top the group:
  • They must win in France and hope that Bayern don't or,
  • If they draw the hope that Bayern lose to the Belorussians.

Group G

Spain Barcelona5401115+612
Portugal Benfica52125507
Scotland Celtic52127707
Russia Spartak Moscow5104612−63
Now the mst important group, Its a fight between Celtic and Benfica.
For Benfica to go through:
  • The Lisboners must beat Barcelona or,
  • If they draw they must hope that the Bhoys draw or lose at Parkhead with Spartak.
For Celtic to go through:
  • They must win and hope that Benfica don't or,
  • They must draw and hope Barca win.

Group H

England Manchester United540195+412
Turkey Galatasaray52125507
Romania CFR Cluj521287+17
Portugal Braga5104611−53
A dogfight between Galatasaray and Cluj.
For Cluj to go through:
  • They must win and hope that Galatasaray don't or,
  • They must draw at Old Trafford and hope that the men from Istanbul lose in Braga.
For the men from Turkey: 
  • They must win in Portugal or,
  • They must match whatever the men from Transylvania.