As can be readily observed in figure 1, no obvious visual correlation between the two variables is identified. An R2 = 0.00814 confirms this, and at the same time, the positive sign of β1 = 0.4114 should have been negative for the Norwegian football federations hypothesis to make any sense. This information raises the obvious question on whether any causal relation between the variables exists.
Not surprisingly, a standard hypothesis test on β = 0 cannot be rejected at a sensible significance level .
The data used, indicate no link what so ever between uncertainty of outcome in European football leagues and quality of the national teams. Hence, the argument of a ’more intense playing ground’ at home to improve the national team is not supported at all.
Luckily, in Norway, the suggestion of reducing the number of teams, by the way suggested by the Dutch consultancy agency Hypercube, was never followed up.
This research indicates perhaps that such a decision was wise.
One could of course always argue that the analysis presented her is very simplified, not covering all dimensions of team quality or various definitions of uncertainty of outcome, limited to a single point in time or using the necessary amount of countries to secure representativeness, but still, it provides relatively clear indications that making this type of decision could be tested and even questioned empirically.
As a consequence, certain care should be taken if one wants to argue that reducing the number of teams in a league is a sensible suggestion in order to achieve more success in big football tournaments involving national teams.