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Wealth And Population Are Huge Factors In International Sports

Abram Jones

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I have estimated what I call the "available population" of each country from 2010 to 2019, the numbers aren't perfect but are generally accurate. This includes people living on at least the equivalent of 10 USD per day and in between the ages of 15 and 64. These people are most able to either directly or indirectly support sports infrastructure, others are often too young, too old, or living in extreme poverty (consumed with survival without access to proper healthcare or sports infrastructure). I have also combined the rankings for 20 men's team contact sports and compared it to available population. I found, unsurprisingly, that larger and richer countries tend to achieve more in sports. It is important to note that available population can define potential for other areas than just sports. Available population is also more specific than using something like GDP per capita, because that does not give certain important details. Also, countries that have recently achieved mass amounts of wealthy people (like China and Brazil) will feel a delayed reaction to their team sports infrastructure like Japan and South Korea did after their booms in the 50s to 70s. You will notice that these countries generally start succeeding in individual sports quicker than team sports, this is because of the complex nature of team sports (they take longer to develop). Lastly, the reason why something should be done about the wealth and population gap of nations is because it is usually not a normal factor. Wealth and population often negate skill per capita/wealth, cultural traits, and organization. A simple fix is for larger countries over 10 million available population to send regional teams, and for very small countries to combine their sports teams such as the West Indies cricket team have done.

rankings: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/15tGdRwMrt8PULmCE_xWeH8i7E2SplUSBvIj10avwoCY
 
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Higgins86

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Terrible timing for this post.. Iceland a population of just 300k beat England in Euro 2016who have a population of 70 million ( give or take).
 

Abram Jones

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Terrible timing for this post.. Iceland a population of just 300k beat England in Euro 2016who have a population of 70 million ( give or take).

That is called cherry picking data, a cardinal sin in mathematics and science. And yeah, I watched that game, there is nothing wrong with the timing as it doesn't affect the fact that wealth and population have great consequences on international sport. Congratulations to Iceland on the economic upset against England :)

Population
England: 53,001k
Iceland: 323k
Available Population (this is what actually matters, not total population)
England: 34.5 million (UK/GB: 39.9)
Iceland: 0.2 million

2012 average score in 20 men's team contact sports
United Kingdom (England is a part of the UK): 59.9
Iceland: 18.0

2015 average score in 9 men's team contact sports
United Kingdom: 73.9
Iceland: 14.7

Greatest Sporting Nation Points (2015, 2014, 2013)
Great Britain: 2794, 1913, 2233
Iceland: 0, 0, 75

And just so you know I am not cherry picking data, you can compare Iceland's score to any country that has more than 10 million available population, and Iceland will normally be behind in ranking. Even though they are quite efficient at sports, their lack of population/wealth will hold them down with the way international sports are setup. This is why international sports are ridiculous in their current form.
 
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Abram Jones

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And since I can't edit my post, here is some more data.

FIFA Ranking (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
England: #9, #6, #5, #4, #15, #15
Iceland: #94, #114, #103, #98, #48, #37

The reason why England is ranked higher is because of constantly having a better record against a great variety of teams, and performing better against more difficult teams. Again, wealth and population are important factors in sports. And yes, I will be rooting for Iceland again when they play France :)
 

Higgins86

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What about Greece 2004 or even Leicester city this year?


And yes of course wealth and population are important factors in sport, I mean that goes without saying. If you have a deeper talent pool and more money you stand a better chance at victory. Not really sure what your point is.
 

Abram Jones

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What about Greece 2004 or even Leicester city this year?


And yes of course wealth and population are important factors in sport, I mean that goes without saying. If you have a deeper talent pool and more money you stand a better chance at victory. Not really sure what your point is.

Again, another expected anomaly. Wealth and population define potential not outcome. This means small/poor countries can succeed, but they are always fighting an uphill battle. In addition, their brute force across the board in all sports will always be limited.

My point is: wealth and population highly affect international sport. is it common sense? no. should it be? yes. I'm simply putting the data out there so any idiot can understand it :) It's more than just talent pool though, it's sports infrastructure as well as basic nutrition and available time for leisure. People living in extreme poverty generally don't have these niceties in life. Furthermore, my implication is that international sports should be done a different way. Not countries against countries necessarily, but regions against regions (as defined by wealth and population). Currently, it doesn't make any sense.
 
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