Efficiency differences in football teams in competitions with different play rules

Manuel Espitia-Escuer, Lucía Isabel García-Cebrián


The aim of this paper is to analyze if the First Division Spanish League and UEFA Champions League regulations generate differences in the relationship between levels of efficiency and sports results. In order to calculate efficiency the modified version of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) proposed by Collier, Johnson and Ruggiero (2011) has been used. It takes into account that the maximum number of wins by a team in a competition may not exceed the number of games played and that increases in the efficiency of a team through the increase of their wins implies that one or more other teams will lose. The time horizon studied covers the seasons between 2009 and 2018. In the first Division Spanish League the correlation between efficiency and sports results is positive and significative, while in the UEFA Champions League in some seasons there is no significative correlation between the two variables. In conclusion, with the limitation of studying only two competitions, there is some evidence that league systems are better to promote wasteful use of resources as they reward more efficient teams with the best sport results.


Efficiency; competition; DEA; serial correlation

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