Early Doors

Tahitian League gives one point for a loss ‘so nobody’s sad’

Early Doors

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The small islands of Tahiti earned many friends at the Confederations Cup earlier this year when they played with a smile on their faces throughout despite losing their three matches by a combined score of 24-1.

It is not hard to imagine why Tahitians would be happy folk given their glorious sunshine, crystal clear aquamarine waters and deserted white-sand beaches, but their football association still goes to great lengths to ensure that their footballers are constantly upbeat.

That is because the Tahitian League is the only known top division in the world where everybody goes home with points in the bag.

The league offers up four points for a win, two for a draw, and one for a defeat as opposed to the traditional 3-1-0 system.

The logic behind the move is simple: "We just don't want anyone to be sad," Tahiti FA director Charles Ariiotima told ESPN Brasil this week in comments picked up on by the Observer.

"With this system, even if a team loses every game, they won't be on zero points at the end of the season. Football, first of all is joy."

[Tahiti: A first-hand account of football on the island]

The only way a team can be awarded zero points is if they fail to turn up and the other team is awarded a walkover.

The new system was ratified by FIFA in time for the 2005/06 season and has been a big success in the country.

"Since we adopted the new system, the games have gained more intensity. This has improved our football and also our national team" said Ariiotima.

Football has been booming in popularity on the island and last season they had 15,172 registered players despite the country's population being only around 180,000.

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