Why would forfeits in football be scored as 3-0 to the non-forfeiting team?
Is there any reason for this score?


1 Answer 1


If the final standings depend on goal difference, goals scored, goals conceded, or a score between two specific teams, then a score needs to be recorded.

Clearly it would be a benefit to the team forfeiting to be granted any goals, as this helps their goals-for. On the other hand, if a team would only get goals by cheating, they shouldn't be given any. Thus, the forfeiting team gets a score of zero.

The team that wins shouldn't also be given zero, since a bad team could just enforce a nil-all draw (in terms of goals scored/conceded) with anybody better, which does more damage to ranking than anything else might. If they're one of those good teams, a single goal isn't fair either, but neither is say, twenty (since it causes a similar problem).

So it has to be something sensible, something realistic. Now three goals is pretty decent, and affects the forfeiting team's goals-against more than just playing the match (ideally, anyway), acting as a deterrent.

You'll find some competitions will give five-nil scores instead of three-nil, or will use a formula to estimate a "more accurate and fair" winning score. Three is an overall guess at the average expected score if the forfeited match were actually played, as it

  1. removes extra thought
  2. removes additional oversight requirements
  3. is easy and simple to remember and apply as a rule.

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