Rumour: Caribbean Football Union (CFU) to leave CONCACAF?

Discussion in 'FIFA and Tournaments' started by deejay, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. Athlone

    Athlone Member

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    Plenty of people throw that idea around again and again, but it isn't going to happen. FIFA doesn't care to force the issue (they have no incentive to do so and there's no evidence that they desire a merger having already backed OFC independence), the OFC doesn't want it for obvious reasons (going from guaranteed representation at every major tournament to possibly permanent irrelevance), and the AFC is not interested (they cover a third of the globe now; adding the OFC would bring them to half the globe, dramatically increasing costs of tournaments with little competitive benefit to them since OFC teams aren't even that good).

    Nobody gains from an OFC/AFC merger except fans who just don't like the OFC. Nobody really wants an OFC/AFC merger except those fans. We're not going to see it.

    "Probably be confident"? That's not much relative to what New Zealand already has, and frankly it is also optimistic (NZ wouldn't be terribly confident of their chances in the OFC at all). Let's dive into this.

    Say that I'm New Zealand (let's just try to put ourselves in their shoes here). I know where I stand in the football hierarchy. I'm a big fish in the small pond that is the OFC, but I'm not a big nation. I can't even say I'm consistently top 100, and though I dominate in my small pond even the minnows around me occasionally can test me in any given game. The teams in the AFC are much stronger, so I'd have much more to worry about there. Even with 9 berths, there's no reason for me to be all that confident that I'll be qualifying in the AFC. Between the Middle Eastern rivals (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Bahrain - all easily at or above NZ's level), the East Asians (China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea - most above NZ's level, all at least even), the Central Asians (Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan - at or above NZ's level)), and Australia (much better than NZ), I could easily miss out on most cycles.
    The same goes for the youth World Cups. In the OFC, there are 2 berths to fight for at every U17 and U20 World Cup. I'll rarely miss out. In the AFC I'll probably be out more often than not. Same goes for the Olympics.

    Meanwhile, in the OFC, I'm the dominant power. I'm by far the largest federation and I win the vast majority of the time. If I don't win any OFC title, it's a huge upset. I can be extremely confident that I'll get to every WC (U17 or U20 or Seniors) and every Olympics. And if I do not make every single tournament, I can be certain I will make the VAST majority of them.

    In the AFC, I cannot be confident of any of that. As soon as I join the AFC, my odds of making any tournament decline dramatically.

    So why would I even entertain a move?

    Put yourself in New Zealand's shoes right now and ask that question. In your current position, you can be nearly certain of your odds of making EVERY tournament. What precisely would get you to dramatically reduce that certainty to move to the OFC? What benefits could outweigh such a huge cost?

    I'll answer for you: nothing and none. There are no benefits that could outweigh that cost and thus there's nothing that'd get you to move. In fact, there are very few benefits at all. NZ joining the AFC not only decreases their odds of getting to any tournament, but enhances travel costs and puts more financial strain on the federation. So not only would they be less visible on the global stage, they'd be poorer for it too (taking into account the loss of funds they would otherwise have earned from those consistent qualifications). And there are also the politics - with just 11 members, every OFC nation has a pretty decent say in how things are done. NZ, as the biggest federation, has a lot of clout. After combination with the AFC, they'd all be pretty much irrelevant. So add sovereignty and self-determination to the list of costs of a merger for the OFC.

    Most of what I've said about NZ goes for the rest of the OFC too, btw. If you're Fiji, Tahiti, New Caledonia, or Vanuatu you're not expecting to win over NZ, but every so often you know you can pip them for the occasional upset. You'll never get by them in World Cup qualification (you never even come close, really, NZ takes it too seriously), but things are a little closer at the Olympic and youth levels - you have a real chance of getting the occasion Olympic appearance. You may even catch NZ slacking and slip into the Confed Cup (which may go extinct soon, but still). Also, since 2015, every U17 and U20 WC will take two OFC teams, meaning one of you will get a shot even if nobody can upset New Zealand.
    Join the AFC and all that goes away. You may never make a major global tournament again.

    Sound like a good deal for them? I don't think so. They'll never go for it.
     
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  2. Athlone

    Athlone Member

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    OK, well that's fair enough then if that's your view. If you really don't think the OFC should get a direct WC berth (or multiple berths at youth levels), then it's perfectly fair to say you don't buy the CFU getting two on a personal opinion level.

    However, any evaluation of the validity of a CFU getting two direct berths will probably work on different parameters. Whether or not some think the OFC deserves a direct berth or not, the fact is that in 2026 they will actually have one. Going by that standard, it is harder to argue against the CFU getting two berths. Were the OFC getting 0.5 (as they are now), it'd be a different story, but in a world where the OFC is actually deemed worthy of one berth (and I'm determining "worthy" there based strictly off of what has actually been given - individual opinions may differ), the CFU can't be said to be out of line for demanding two.

    Also, I'm just curious about your take on this: in a scenario in which the OFC did not get a direct berth but received just 0.5, would you be opposed to the Caribbean getting a single full berth?

    I would actually be fine with that arrangement. 1.5 berths is perfectly fair as an allocation for the CFU and asking the CFU's second side to take out the top team in the OFC sounds equitable too (it's a very fair matchup for both sides) but, as you said, it isn't going to happen. The OFC won't get less than a full berth starting in 2026 and they will be done with playoffs after 2022.

    If the CFU does end up getting 1.5 berths (the bare minimum they'd secure if they split), then my bet is that the playoff will be with the AFC, as they are the only Confed outside of CONCACAF in the current allocation projections to have a playoff spot (CONCACAF at 6.5 and the AFC at 8.5 - an exiting CFU with 1.5 berths would just assume that playoff obligation from CONCACAF, who'd be free from that with 5 full berths left). I still think that's a pretty fair match up - the CFU's #2 (likely one of Trinidad, Haiti, or Jamaica if the match were held today) is a fair opponent for the AFC #9 (probably one of Iraq, Qatar, China, Thailand, or Syria if the match were held today).
     
  3. condor11

    condor11 Moderator Staff Member

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    Except of course most football fans in nz would love nothing more than going to the AFC

    Getting two spots at youth level wcs has done nothing to truly develop the game here
     
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  4. shizzle787

    shizzle787 Member

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    Asia gets 8 then.
     


  5. Athlone

    Athlone Member

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    That's surprising.

    Regardless, the federation =/= fans, and the decision would be in the Federation's hands. The Federation has to do what's best for the nation's game, and that necessarily means a different calculation.

    You can't really make an evaluation on that yet. FIFA only gave the OFC 2 berths in 2015. The 2017 U17 and U20 World Cups will be the first in which the OFC has two guaranteed qualification berths that have nothing to do with hosting. We can't conclude that two berths to youth level WCs every 2 years has done nothing to develop the game in the OFC until we actually see the OFC get those berths over a period of time.
     
  6. condor11

    condor11 Moderator Staff Member

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    The federation I think would also prefer a tougher qualification in afc over a playoff game with a team from different confederation

    The problem with the playoff is that you arrive at a do or die game without really having been tested at international level

    I can't speak for the rest of OFC but nz has been a regular fixture at youth world cups for a while now, I have not seen the benefits of these participations yet
     
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  7. almango

    almango Member

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    The benefits aren't quite what they were since FIFA limited the ability of clubs to take very young players from other clubs. Lets face it, while playing in FIFA youth tournaments is good experience for players, its not as good as coming up through a large professional clubs youth development system. When we played youth tournaments regularly (its a lot harder to qualify for these from Asia and we miss out more than we qualify these days), a few players were picked up by professional clubs and properly developed into seasoned professionals. Most of our golden generation of a decade or so ago played in Europe as kids, an opportunity that isn't as readily available now unless you have access to an EU passport.
    New Zealand never wanted anything to do with Asia in the past, mainly because they could pretty much run OFC as their own organisation by gathering support from other island nations to keep Australia on the outside. Now with Australia gone, New Zealand are the top dog that others don't want to have too big a say, so things are done to hurt New Zealand's interests with match scheduling and the major positions go to people from places other than New Zealand. I'm pretty sure New Zealand would be more than happy to ditch OFC if given the chance, but I'm not so sure they could get enough support from AFC to join. There was, and still is, opposition from many countries in the arab world to Australia's participation in AFC.
     
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  8. Nico Limmat

    Nico Limmat Moderator Staff Member

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    Discussion split from that ancient thread (let's not bump such old threads)
     


  9. NaBUru38

    NaBUru38 Member

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    So what are the chances of it happening?

    What will USA, Canada and Mexico do about it?

    WIll Fifa intervene?
     
  10. Unak78

    Unak78 BigSoccer Supporter

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    Interesting, but it would be suicidal for the CFU. At least in CONCACAF, they qualify a team every now and then. On their own, they would be another Oceania and almost never qualify. I can't imagine this going through without the WC expansion happening. The CONCACAF/CONMEBOL merger also seems more likely under those circumstances.
     
  11. Unak78

    Unak78 BigSoccer Supporter

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    They'll wave goodbye as they leave. I don't think that the USA, Canada or Mexico would rue losing numerous votes that will no longer have to curry in order to administrate CONCACAF. That's just the truth. They don't bring much money to the tournaments as it is since they often have very minimal representation and their fans don't travel much outside of those already living in the US and Canada. Not that I wouldn't miss their play in our tournaments, they especially brought alot to the last Gold Cup, but USSF, CSA and FMF officials aren't as interested in spectacle so much as the nuts and bolts of trying to get what they want in the CONFED. I was actually amazed when Montagliani won the leadership of the confederation since the CFU has controlled it for so long. I wonder if their loss of the leadership is part of why they want to leave. I also wonder how much weight Mexico will wield with the Central American federations.
     
  12. Unak78

    Unak78 BigSoccer Supporter

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    Agreed. And Belize might go with the CFU.
     
  13. Unak78

    Unak78 BigSoccer Supporter

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    Then they wouldn't have been keen on it in the first place. They knew what OFC would be. And the US, Mexico and Canada should welcome the change, so I'd imagine that they have a bit more pull than Australia did.
     
  14. deejay

    deejay Member+

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    With world cup spots increasing in 2022 they should be able to get at least a guaranteed spot. And no, they aren't quite as bad as Oceania. Three Caribbean nations have qualified to the WC. Puerto Rico, Cuba and Dominican Republic have the potential.
     
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  15. Unak78

    Unak78 BigSoccer Supporter

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    Yeah, I kinda hinted at that at the end. This entire thing is only possible with an expanded WC. And I agree that the CFU is better than the OFC but still far below everyone else. I like the idea of CFU getting 1.5 and OFC playing them for their half spot. Granted the latter three are more interested in baseball than football. If the World Baseball Classic folds after this year, football may be able to make inroads though because those nations do have potential.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017

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