In the aftermath of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup and as the qualification process for the 2016 Rio Olympics gets underway, it has become clear that all confederations are equal but some are more equal than others.

That is to say that the allocation spots for the Women's World Cup and the Olympics Games are arguably more generous for some confederations than they are for others.

This is even more so when review is undertaken of past performances of nations in those confederations at major tournaments and the strength of nations within the confederation.

Beijing 2008 spots %Knockout Stage %Diff %
UEFA18.75%37.5%+ 18.75%
AFC12.5%25%+ 12.5%
CONCACAF12.5%25%+ 12.5%
CONMEBOL12. 5%12.5%0
CAF12.5%0%- 12.5%
OFC6.25%0%- 6.25%

2011 WWC spots % Knockout Stage %Diff %
UEFA31.25%50%+ 18.75%
AFC18.75%25%+ 6.25%
CONCACAF18.75%12.5%- 6.25%
CAF12.5%0%- 12.5%
OFC6.25%0%- 6.25%

London 2012 spots %Knockout Stage %Diff %
UEFA18.75%37.5%+ 18.75%
CONCACAF12.5%25%+ 12.5%
CONMEBOL12. 5%12.5%0%
CAF12.5%0- 12.5%

2015 WWC spots %Knockout Stage %Diff %
UEFA33.3%43.7%+ 10.4%
AFC20.8%25%+ 4.2%
CONCACAF16.7%12.5%- 4.2%
CAF12.5%6.3%- 6.2%
OFC4.2%0%- 4.2%

Net Difference

The above data displays that some confederations are overachievers while others continue to languish.

With that in mind, could (and should) women's football employ a co-efficient system for its confederations?

The concept is not a new one and it already happens in the European confederation (UEFA) in relation to its major tournaments.  In UEFA:

A country's co-efficient is based on the results of their clubs in the five previous UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League seasons.

The rankings then determine the number of places a country has in the next Champions League or Europea League.[1]

In essence, the better a country's clubs perform, the more spots their country gets.  The system looks to reward and incentivise.

Yes, I can hear you shouting "not all confederations spend the same on women's football".

Ideally, to be equitable, the co-efficient for a confederation should take into some account the disadvantage of a particular confederation.

However, as it currently stands, the allocations do not reward those confederations whose member nations do resource their women's football programs and neither does it incentivise those confederations whose member nations overlook their programs.

With the same number of spots available at every championship, where is the carrot and stick?

Why should a confederation put any pressure on their nations to improve their women's football programs when their allocations will always remain the same regardless.

AFC and CONCACAF are examples of why confederations should be incentivised.

With the increased field for the 2015 Women's World Cup, both confederations were provided with additional spots.

The carrot of a World Cup spot saw nations from both confederations increase support of their women's programs, with several nations qualifying for the tournaments for the first time in years or debuting.

The AFC went one step further as it supported its member nations by providing USD$200,000 to each team that qualified.

With the money, nations were able to prepare properly for the World Cup with several undertaking tours in Europe and the USA against good nations.

The end result was that 4 out of 5 teams made the knockout stage, with Thailand just missing out.

From the above tables, the over-representation of some confederations is more apparent when it comes to the Olympic Games.

Particularly when you drill down further and examine the qualification process.

Five confederations, with the exception of UEFA, have qualification tournaments as set out below.

Rio 2016 spots % TournamentAve Qual Rankings
UEFA (3)18.75%WWC top 3 [2]9.3 - 5 teams in Top 20
AFC (2)12.5%6 team round robin14 - 5 teams in Top 20
CONMEBOL (2)12.5%Copa America Top 228.6 - 1 team in Top 20
CONCACAF (2)12. 5%8 team knockout51.3 - 2 teams in Top 20
CAF (2)12.5%8 team H&A knockout69.7 - 0 teams in Top 20
OFC (1)6.25%2 team playoff32.5 - 1 team in Top 20

That the AFC has the same number of Olympic Games qualifications spots as CONMEBOL, CONCACAF and CAF is inequitable.

At the very least, the AFC should gain a half spot meaning a confederation playoff from CONMEBOL, CONCACAF or CAF.

A co-efficient system could also work to take out the politics of allocations with an objective measure.

The end result is, if confederations assist nations perform, it is beneficial to all.

What do you think?

[1] UEFA Rankings by country

[2] UEFA uses the FIFA Women's World Cup to determine which women's national teams from Europe qualify for the Olympic football tournament. Germany and France qualified by making it to the quarter finals. While Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland were all knocked out at the same stage and will now participate in tournament for the final spot.