Play Offs – The Fairest Way

is usually accompanied by complaints about the unfairness of it all.

Unsurprisingly, the wronged side is always the one that finished its league campaign higher.

Let’s start with the Guinness Premiership. After a gruelling 22 rounds lasting eight months, why shouldn’t Leicester Tigers be called this year’s champions rather than having to compete in an end of season mini-cup competition? Will third-placed London Irish take that honour?

To answer that we can take a look at Rugby Union’s once disowned family member, Rugby League. Play-offs have been prevalent in Rugby League since the Northern Union first split away at the end of the 19th century, when Hunslet and Bradford Northern tied for points at the top of the Yorkshire Competition. It was also used extensively when the two divisions were merged into one and an odd fixture list developed that prevented everyone playing each other twice.

That system ended in 1973 but Rugby League then invented an end-of-season competition, “The Premiership” to generate some more interest. At this point the League Championship was see วิธีสมัคร ufabetn as far more important and the new play-off style idea didn’t carry much gravitas until the Super League itself was formed in 1998.

Despite the same resistance as is now seen in Rugby Union, it’s now accepted in Rugby League circles that the Super League Grand Final winners are the champions regardless of where they finished during the regular season. A lot of this can be put down to the play-off system itself, but more of that later.

Football League teams are also competing for promotion with the Championship (Division 2 in old money) play-off final routinely called the richest prize in football due to its opening up of Premier League bounty for the Wembley winners.

Despite the excitement produced by play-offs there’s still a considerable body of opinion opposed to them despite their continued existence since 1987.

To me, the problem is caused by the way they are organised, and this is where the other sports might like to copy the Super League format, itself a copy of the Australian version known as the McIntyre system after its inventor Ken McIntyre.