First, hattip to my friend Richard over at www.SBNation.com/Soccer where he's taken over as the editor of the soccer portal on SBNation. Second, on a day when Castrol announces that they will be adding Major League Soccer to their Castrol Index (I said it twice does that mean that Castrol will pay me for saying Castrol?) he discovers that Fabio Capello made up his own index.
And by made up, I mean made up.
Because is this an index or a game? Is there any kind of statistical rigor at all?
The Capello Index will measure and evaluate the performances of players in the five leading European leagues and across the major football competitions, including the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. The first tournament to be covered by the Capello Index will be the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ which starts next month in South Africa.
The World Cup will also see the launch a new fantasy football game showcasing the Capello Index. The ‘Capello XI’ represents a new era for fantasy football. Not only will the players be measured by the most comprehensive scoring system of any fantasy game, the Capello XI is the most interactive game yet as fans will be able to follow the performance of their players in real time. The format of the game is also unique; participants can select a different set of players each match day, picking their preferred XI without limitation except for the number of players selected from each team.
Chicco Merighi, co-founder of the Capello Index, said: "The Capello XI fantasy football game is a great way to showcase the Capello Index and its flexibility means that football fans will have a range of options so that they can choose how they participate.
That reads kind of like both. It is a game, based off of what at best seem like an arbitrary system of scoring that Capello has designed and later trained a few choice people to apply. Except that since Capello will be busy actually coaching teams he won't be rating players. This creates drift, and in this case it is uncorrectable drift.
How will his trained personnel recalibrate? Will Fabio really take time away from watching tape of England v USA to help the Capello Index people rate Mexico v Uraguay?
Now, I work in a field where we take subjective data and objectify it. We do the same thing as a scout in any sport. We take an item that really only we can know and place it on a scale. But in our case we know that there isn't a lot of drift as we interact every day, to include doing calibration exercises between offices in 3 different countries. Every person on the team takes part in that.
Any one want to take a bet that Capello re-calibrates his observers?
Some times you really can make this stuff up.