Predictions Cup

The winter break has been kinder to some than to others, but we are nearing the resumption of Russian football with Europa League knockouts only a fortnight away. The Russian Football Premier League (RFPL) begins again on 2 March when we will be launching our inaugural cash-prize Predictions Cup with a possible €100 winner’s prize, and we’re here to explain what that entails.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Send us a direct message on our Facebook page registering an interest, and include your email address if you are not already on the mailing list so we can add you
  2. Pay €5 (£5 for UK players) entry fee via PayPal; search for russianfootballnews1@gmail.com.
  3. Sit back and await confirmation.

Those of you who play the brilliant Predictions League will be familiar with the format of playing the game, but for those of you who don’t, here are the basics: every week you predict the scores of all eight RFPL matches, and we reward you for accuracy with points. If you predict the exact score (perfect score, or PS), you get three points; if you get the result correct, but not the perfect score, you get one point; and if you get the result wrong, you get zero. Simple!

We run the game through our Facebook page for simplicity and transparency so everyone can see what everyone else has predicted, with results and leaderboards published on a spreadsheet via our weekly newsletter. You must sign up to the newsletter – which has the headlines from Russian football, news from the site, the latest articles and updates from the Predictions League and Cup – to enter the game.

OK, down to the nuts and bolts of the Predictions Cup itself. There is an entry fee of €5 (or £5 in the UK) to be delivered via PayPal to RFN – just search for russianfootballnews1@gmail.com within PayPal. There will be a maximum of 32 players, which would provide a pot of €160 to be divided up as follows:

Winner – €100

Runner up – €40

Semi-finalists – €10

The prizes will be adjusted accordingly if we receive fewer than the full 32 entries.

The first round of the Cup will take place in Round 21 of the RFPL – in other words the weekend spanning from Friday 2 March till Sunday 4 March. This means the deadline for entry fees to be delivered will be 18:00 GMT on Thursday 1 March to allow confirmation of all entries and notification of the specific prize allocation.

Each round of our Predictions Cup will run on alternate rounds of the RFPL, so the Cup second round will take place on RFPL round 23 on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 March, the quarter-finals on RFPL round 25 on the weekend of Saturday 7 April, semi-finals on RFPL round 27 a fortnight later, and the final on RFPL round 29 at the start of May. This is to allow for replays, should we need them.

This brings us on to the scoring. For each round of the Cup, players are drawn at random against each other in a head-to-head encounter. As mentioned above players score points for correctly predicting results and scorelines, so as you might have guessed, you progress to the next round by scoring more points than your Cup opponent that week. If however you both score the same number of points, the tiebreakers are as follows:

1. Total results predicted correctly

If player A predicts five results correctly but no perfect scores, and player B predicts three results correctly but with one perfect score, they both have five points. Player A would go through by virtue of having more results.

2. Replay

If both players have identical scores and total results predicted, they will simply face each other again the following week in a replay.

3. Predictions League form

In the unlikely event that two players cannot be separated after a replay, we will take their recent form in the Predictions League into account. Scores from the previous five weeks of the Predictions League will be added up, and the player with the higher total goes through. If this is equal, we will take the previous 10 weeks, and so until we can separate the two.

The last tiebreaker may seem a little unfair to completely new players, but we have to draw the line somewhere! The truth is we didn’t need this in the first edition of the Predictions Cup last year, and highly doubt we will need it again, but it does offer a slither of reward to those who have been in the game a while.

We will be running a similar version of the game for the World Cup, which may be expanded to a maximum of 64 players depending on interest. What better way to warm up than enter the Predictions Cup this spring?

Author: Andrew Flint

I moved out to Russia in 2010 to teach English because it sounded like fun, then I met and fell in love with FC Tyumen (and my wife!) and decided to stay. Surprisingly, I turned out to be the only English person remotely interested in a Siberian third-tier club, but then who wouldn’t fall for a grizzly Georgian midget, a flying Brazilian and Tyumen’s 93rd most influential figure…

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