Register
Pay Now

The Count Back System

A Change...
DIFL League Tables Are Calculated as follows:

In response to concerns raised by a number of coaches and parents, the DIFL Committee has taken the decision to abolish goal difference as way of separating teams that are level on points in DIFL league tables. This is designed:

1. to discourage coaches from just playing their strongest players (at the expense of weaker members of the squad) in order to score as many goals as possible simply to improve the team's goal difference.

In place of 'goal difference' DIFL will use a 'count back' system. During the season teams that are level on points will be placed in alphabetical order in the league table. At the end of the season, teams that are still level on points will be separated using the following criteria:

  • their head-to-head record
  • the highest number of wins over all teams
  • the highest number of draws over all teams

Assuming Teams X and Y both ended the season on 15 points, the following is an example of how the Count Back system would be applied to arrive at the final standings:

Count Back System- e.g. 1
  P W D L Pts
Team X 11 5 5 1 20
Team Y 11 6 2 3 20
  • During the season, Team X would appear above Team Y because teams level on points are placed alphabetically until all fixtures have been played.
  • At the end of the season, in order to separate the teams the first criteria to be applied would be the head-to head result between the two teams. If, during the regular season, Team X had beaten Team Y, then Team X would be placed above Team Y in the final standings. On the other hand, if Team Y had beaten Team X during the regular season then Team Y would be placed ahead of Team X. For the sake of this example, let’s say the match between the teams had ended in a draw. In that case they would not be able to be separated using the head-to-head criteria.
  P W D L Pts
Team Y* 11 6 2 3 20
Team X 11 5 5 1 20
More wins against all teams than Team X

Assuming Teams A, B, C and D all ended the season on 15 points, the following is an example of how the count back system would be applied to arrive at the final standings:

Count Back System - e.g. 2
  P W D L Pts
Team A 11 5 0 6 15
Team B 11 4 3 5 15
Team C 11 3 6 2 15
Team D 11 3 6 2 15
  • 1. The first criteria to be applied would be the head-to head between the four teams. Let’s assume that the results between the four teams during the season had been as follows:
    • Team A beat Team B
    • Team A beat Team C
    • Team D beat Team A
    • Team B drew with Team C
    • Team B drew with Team D
    • Team C drew with Team D

    Then Team A would be placed ahead of the other teams, as it has the best head to head record between the four teams (i.e. Team A scored 3 + 3 + 0 = 6 points in the head-to-head games with the other three teams). Team D has the second best head-to-head record (i.e. Team D scored 3 + 1 + 1 = 5 points in the head-to-head games). However, Teams B and C have identical head-to-head records (i.e. 0 + 1 + 1 = 2 points).

  • 2. To separate Teams B & C, we then look at the head-to-head result in their fixture but in this example they drew their match and so cannot be separated in this manner.
    Count Back System - e.g. 2
      P W D L Pts
    Team A* 11 5 0 6 15
    Team D** 11 3 6 2 15
    Team B*** 11 4 3 5 15
    Team C 11 6 6 2 15
Best overall head-to-head record between the 4 teams
Second best head-to-head record between the 4 teams
More wins against all teams than Team C
Count Back System - e.g. 3
  P W D L Pts
Team E 11 5 3 3 18
Team F 11 4 6 1 18
Team G 11 5 3 3 18
  • Assuming Teams E, F & G all ended the season on 18 points. Again, the first criteria to be applied would be the head-to-head result between the three teams. If the results between the three teams during the season had been as follows:
    • Team E beat Team F
    • Team G beat Team E
    • Team F beat Team G

    Then the teams would have identical head-to-head records (i.e. Teams E, F & G each scored 3 + 0 = 3 points in the head-to-head games) and so cannot be separated using this criteria.

  • The second criteria is then applied i.e. the total number of wins over all teams. Therefore, Team Teams E & G (with 5 wins each) would be placed above Team F (with 4 wins).
  • As Teams E & G have the same number of wins (5 each), the next criteria needs to be applied, i.e. the number of games they have drawn against all teams. However, both teams have drawn 3 games and so cannot be separated using this criteria.
Count Back System - e.g. 3
  P W D L Pts
Team G 11 5 3 3 18
Team E 11 5 3 3 18
Team F 11 4 6 1 18

Final Word As has already been stated, there are several advantages to this system. However, the main reason for the change is to stop stronger teams thinking they have to beat weaker teams by a large margin just to improve their goal difference. Goal difference is now irrelevant and, therefore, Coaches can play for a win without needing to demolish the opposing team. Winning by one goal is enough to get the 3 points and there is no longer an advantage to winning by a huge margin! So our advice to Coaches is to play in the spirit of DIFL, and when you’re winning give some of the less experienced children a chance to shine rather than trying to score as many goals as possible.