Gibraltar ruling likely to affect Ireland seeding

As things stand, Ireland will get no ranking points at all for their home and away games against Gibraltar

The Republic of Ireland’s chances of being third seeds

in their qualifying group for the 2018 World Cup would be dented should Fifa succeed in excluding Gibraltar from membership of the organisation when the matter is heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

The Gibraltar FA (GFA) has said it will take the matter to the court after Fifa president Sepp Blatter said yesterday that the executive committee had decided the GFA could not be admitted at present under the terms of Fifa statutes. This is disputed by the GFA, whose officials are believed to feel that pressure from Spain was a factor in the decision.

The outcome of the dispute could be of significance to the FAI, with Martin O’Neill’s side, currently ranked 32 in Europe, needing to rise at least four places to be third seeds if, as seems likely, the system of qualifying for the World Cup in Russia is broadly the same as it was for Brazil, with teams in nine groups.


Ranking points

As things stand,


will get no ranking points at all for their home and away games against Gibraltar, as Poland got none for their 7-0 win in Faro earlier this month.

World rankings are calculated on the basis of the average points achieved in games, but the 375 points or so that a win over Gibraltar would be worth to Ireland is higher than the team has averaged in either of the past two years, so such a victory would improve the team’s overall points tally.

Bulgaria, Armenia, Slovenia and Hungary currently occupy the places above Ireland in the ranking list. As things stand, meanwhile, England would miss out on a top seeding, as Roy Hodgson’s side are currently 10th in Europe, a ranking that would land them in pot two.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times