Why this project?

In the past decade, Russia has been a stable nation on the UEFA club ranking. However, the three past seasons show a different trend. In the running UEFA Country Ranking 2023 Russia falls out of the top 10 for the first time since 2005. And the UEFA Country Ranking 2024 is even looking worse. If this trend continues, Russia is expected to drop to the 21st spot.

This declining trend (see Figure) is also expressed by our Euro Club Index (ECI; see www.euroclubindex.com for an explanation). The ECI is a ranking of all European first tier clubs and expressed the strength of each club. The higher the number of ECI-points, the stronger a club is. Seven years ago, Russia had five clubs within Europe’s best 50. Currently, there is only one Russian team left in the top-50, which is FC Zenit at place 46. With the ever-expanding prize pool of the UEFA, containing a high position on the UEFA Country Ranking will become even more important in the upcoming decade.

Thus, the answer to the question why we should invest in the project is: to strengthen Russian football.

We want to know your opinion

We invite you – as a fan of Russian football – to let us know how you think about the matters that are at stake.

This website will provide you with the neccessary information about this project. In addition, a webinar was recorded in which Pieter Nieuwenhuis, CEO and founder of Hypercube, explains the background of this project in more detail.

The webinar can be found here:

And you can give your opinion on this project by filling in this survey: https://anketolog.ru/s/516594/iuLIQ4Xy

Your cooperation and input will be highly appreciated.

How, scope and duration of the project

How
A competition structure is an element that could give new impetus to Russian football. A good league structure ensures that matches are attractive, with as few dead matches as possible (i.e., matches with nothing at stake for one or even both teams) and many matches that are tense and exciting instead of predictable. An optimized league structure will draw more people to the stadiums as well as more media attention, boosting sponsorships and income, thereby helping clubs to improve the strength of their squad and to improve Russian football.

Therefore, the purpose of this project is to assess whether the current format is still the best-suited format against the background of recent changes in football and potential future perspectives. As a consequence, a new competition strategy is expected to bend the trend of Russian club football.

Scope of the project 
The first three tiers, with a total of 102 professional teams, will be part of the project. The pyramid structure of those tiers is open for discussion and the impact of suggested changes will be evaluated by using data analysis. Several stakeholders (e.g., clubs, coaches, players, fans, media, sponsors, journalists and broadcasters) will be consulted to give their opinion and share their ideas. Stakeholders will be approached by the Russian Football Federation, so please wait for the invitation to join our meetings or to fill out a questionnaire.

Duration of the project 
The project has started on the 5th of May and the decisions will be made before the start of the new seasons of RFL, FNL and PFL 21/22. The new competition structures could first be implemented in the season of 22/23.

 

Approach

A team composed of experts of the Russian Football Federation, external Russian football experts and Hypercube Business Innovation will work together towards the best solution for Russian football. In several phases, data of Russian football (i.e., sporting, financial and commercial data) will be analysed and stakeholders’ opinions and ideas will be captured. It is important that you – as a stakeholder – will be prepared to share your thoughts with us.

Critical information
The theoretical basis for the project lies in the circle of success. This circle forms the basis of Hypercube’s proven proprietary methodology. This circle shows that a change in one element results in a change of all others, effecting indirectly also the stage originally altered. The underlying idea is as follows: by improving sporting strength a club attracts more fans and increases the number of followers on TV and online. This makes the club more attractive for sponsoring. These additional revenues enable a club to invest in (and thus improving) sporting strength. The “circle of success” could be started at any stage. Note that it works downwards as well.  The circle can be applied for individual clubs as well as for a league or a sport in general. Financial (i.e., commercial attractiveness, incomes, investments) and non-financial benefits (i.e., sporting quality, attendance) are intertwined as well as on-pitch and off-pitch performances.

Characteristics captured

 

Sporting characteristics and terminology used 

•Sporting strength will be determined by our Euro Club Index (see above and www.euroclubindex for an explanation).

•Quality of and between the league(s) will be calculated and expressed the competitive balance and competition progress.

•The competitive balance (CB) refers to the difference in sporting strength between clubs. Less difference in will result in more exciting matches.

•The competition progress (CP) refers to the number of matches with something at stake. There will be more excitement when there are more matches during the competition that contribute to winning prizes or avoiding relegation.

 

 

Financial and commercial characteristics and terminology 

Financial figures of clubs will be used to make a business case and to calculate the impact of potential changes in strategies on the financial figures of the clubs. Part of the business case are attractiveness for fans (attendance), for sponsors and for media partners (including TV-revenues).

With regard to media, it the aspects below will be analysed in more detail:

•Current TV situation and distribution of contracts (nationally and internally)

•Need of clubs with respect to possibilities and willingness for an uplift in revenues

•Available content

•Competitive environment

•Market check

•Distribution models and financial expectations

Recent developments in competition formatting

In the past decades, more and more leagues decided to not play Round Robin (i.e., every team plays each other twice; home and away), but to opt for a more sophisticated solution in which more moments of glory and disaster are captured (see competition progress). Below you’ll find the so-called ‘all-in-one’ table as recent development and solution for exciting competitions.

The all-in-one mechanism

  • 32 teams: 4 pots based on UEFA Coefficient
  • 8 games in group stage
  • Home / Away against different opponents
  • All teams are ranked in one league table
  • Top 8 → Round of 16
  • Teams 9-24 Intermediate knock out round
  • Teams 25-32 → eliminated
  • Knock out: seeded tree 1-16, 2-15

 

Pros

  • Since the ranking balances the total opposition for each team the table is capable of ordering 32 teams after no more than 8 rounds
  • Commercially there is a wider spread rivalry coming from the density of the table throughout the group stage. This will improve the TV-ratings in the third markets
  • The competitive balance within the matches is equal to the current system: Every match has influence on a team’ prospects throughout the rest of the tournament, this means no dead matches
  • The all-in one system provides a flexible number of rounds independent of the number of participants
  • This provides a flexible number of critical spots that can be awarded independent of the number of participants.

 

Cons

  • One league table, but not all teams play against each other
  • Different opponents home and away

Hypercube projects

Hypercube Business Innovation is a company from the Netherlands that is specialized in competition format projects in football. It has been involved in the innovation of the competitions of The Netherlands (2004), Belgium (2008), Norway (2014), Denmark (2015), Bulgaria (2016), Romania (2017), Austria (2018),  Switzerland (Cup) (2019) and Ireland and Northern Ireland (2020).

Furthermore it has worked on multiple European competitions, such as UEFA Champions League and Europa League in 2008, EURO 2016 and the new Champions League format after 2024.

More information on previous Hypercube projects can be found in the article from sports.ru about the reformation of the Danish football competition and on the Hypercube website (in English).