Monday, February 28, 2011

FRB Update: Another Stupid Structure

A while back, FRB declared the 2008 and 2009 Colombian Cup to have had the worst structure ever. Its system of allowing a team to advance in the knockout rounds, despite losing its match, was deemed uniquely ridiculous.

Well, FRB was right about "ridiculous." But not "uniquely." It turns out Bolivia has used a similar system  at least twice.

The 2009 season was divided into two halves. The first half was conventional; in the second half, the 12 teams were divided into two groups, with the top three from each group advancing to the playoffs.

These six teams were paired up for two-leg matches. The three winners advanced, as did the "best" loser. It turned out that two of the matches were clear victories, but a third was decided by away goals. The loser of that tie, Bolivar, got to advance to the semis. Bolivar won that semi, but lost in the final.

In 2010, Bolivia threw out that structure, but the horrible "best loser" idea survived.  The league had three separate tournaments: between the first and second halves, there was a mini-tournament that coincided with the World Cup.  This competition was a knockout from the beginning. The 12 teams were each paired with a traditional rival for round one.  The six winners advanced to the quarters as did the best loser ... and the second best loser! Ugh! The Strongest, who lost on penalties, and Blooming, who lost on away goals, were the lucky beneficiaries. Both thankfully lost in the next round.

Like Colombia, Bolivia has apparently wised up. In introducing yet another new structure for 2011, they have dropped the best loser concept.

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