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Since its introduction in August 1993, the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking has become a regular part of international sports reports and an important indicator for FIFA's member associations to find out where their respective teams stand in world football's pecking order and how they are progressing.

Nevertheless, the increasingly high profile of the world ranking has also brought a certain amount of criticism that its calculation formula is too complicated. It was therefore decided in 2005 to revise the ranking in order to simplify the way in which it is calculated.

A multinational group comprising FIFA staff and external experts was subsequently formed to find a new procedure for drawing up the world ranking. Extensive tests and assessments were then carried out, which - following a number of presentations - reached their conclusion at the end of 2005.

Transparency and simplicity - the key principles guiding the revision - have been combined with sporting criteria (i.e. the reality of world football) and statistical requirements to establish the new and simplified method of calculation that the FIFA Executive Committee ratified at its meeting in Leipzig, Germany, on 7 December 2005.

The most important change to the calculation of the ranking is that it will no longer take into account the last eight years of results but only four. At the same time, all of the other factors previously taking into account (result, importance of match, strength of opponents, regional strength, number of matches considered) were tested, analysed and, in some cases, totally revised. In fact, two of the factors that were previously used (goals scored and home advantage) will no longer have any impact on the ranking.

The new method was applied immediately after the FIFA World Cup ™, namely, with the first edition published on 12 July 2006.

  Revised World Ranking Existing world ranking
Matches  All international "A" matches  All international "A" matches
Result: Win-Draw-Defeat  3 points -1 points – 0 points  Complex points allocation
Importance of match  1 (friendly match) to 4 (FIFA World Cup™)  1 (friendly match) to 2 (FIFA World Cup™)
Strength of opponent  Position in world ranking (no. 1 = 2.00, no. 30 = 1.70, no. 118 = 0.82 etc.)
Formula: [200 - Position] / 100
 Complex calculation based on difference in strength of teams
Regional strength  Based on results in last three FIFA World Cups (wins per confederation per match)  Complex calculation based on all inter-continental matches played in the previous 12 months
Period  Last four years, gradual decline in importance of results: 100%- 50% - 30% - 20%  Last 8 years with linear importance of results
Number of matches considered per year  Average points gained from all matches in last 12 months (minimum: 5 matches)  Complex calculation (average between best 7 matches and all matches)
Number of goals  --  Points value from the difference between goals for and goals against
Home and away matches  --  3-point bonus for away team

Source: FIFA