Watched the UEFA draws yesterday and something pinched my attention. We are told that draws are the fairest means of pairing or in this case grouping teams of 4. It is supposed to be in statistical terms random. But I think it is anything but.Let me show you how.
My first bone of contention is with the seeding system. We have the so called big teams being labelled pot1. This in effect means these cannot be drawn against each other. But what criteria does UEFA use to classify teams as Pot 1 material? My guess is financial muscle. But as we have seen in the past financial muscle doesn’t always guarantee results and that they are the better team(Man City Vs Lyon,Atalanta vs Athletico).I hear someone saying they UEFA uses past glory as a yardstick for seeding teams. But when was the last time Juventus or PSG won the champions league. 1996 and never,yet we are told they are superior to Chelsea who won the title in 2012. That makes their process very flawed.
I am not a fan of stratified sampling (I won’t give you a statistics lecture don’t worry).I am an old fashioned FA cup kind of guy. Put all teams in a big bag ,draw one after the other,the first team to come up is home,pair those teams together and let them get at it. In UEFA’s case draw any 4 from a bag of 32 into groups of 8 and let them play each other to see who is the best. If the champions of Denmàrk, Austria, Azerbaijan and Estonia find themselves in one group that’s their luck, the show goes on.I am in favour of a random draw with no human intervention in the interest of fairness.