CIES Football Observatory


Issue n°221 - 02/04/2018

Competitive balance: general decline in Europe

Issue number 221 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post analyses the percentage of matches with a gap of three or more goals in 29 European competitions. The highest figure so far this season was observed for the Champions League: 29% (+8% compared to the same moment during last season). This percentage is twice as high as at Europa League level: 16% (+3%).

The English Premier League had so far the third highest proportion of very uneven matches among the competitions surveyed: 22% (+4%). At the opposite end of the table, the German Bundesliga is by far the big-5 European league with the lowest percentage of games with a three or more goal gap: 11% (-6%). The lowest proportion overall was measured in Russia: 10% (-4%).

The percentage of imbalanced fixtures increased in 20 out of the 29 competitions analysed. Overall, the average goal gap per match increased from 1.37 to 1.40. The highest figure for this indicator was also recorded at Champions League level: 1.87 from 1.55 last season (+21%). This analysis reveals the general trend towards competitive unbalance in European football.

% of matches with a three goal-gap or over [A] and average goal difference per match [B]

2016/17: matches played until 03/04/2017 - 2017/18: matches played until 29/03/2018

CIES Football Observatory

Editors : Raffaele Poli, Roger Besson and Loïc Ravenel

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