WFTDA Competition and Rankings
The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) competitive system and rankings are regionally based. Every two years, each region has a Regional Championship of the size and structure that best supports the needs of the region, and the WFTDA will designate a number of seats per Region to seed teams to compete for the Hydra in the Global Championship.
In order to promote more roller derby for more members, the WFTDA Charter Roster Policy allows leagues to enter more than one charter team into the competitive season, and skaters may play on a maximum of two charter teams. A skater’s two charter teams can be based in the same league or two different leagues. Two WFTDA teams of any league can have a maximum crossover of 8 skaters in the regular season and 3 skaters in the Championship events.
The competitive season has been extended from the single year that was the prior standard, allowing teams more time to schedule and play the games they wish to play, and to give teams at the top of the regional rankings more time to plan and fundraise for Championships.
The rankings algorithm is capped to allow for more choice in opponents – teams can be more widely spread out in rankings and can still play a viable game for their rankings. Ranking points are set up so that if Team A has double the ranking points of Team B, they are predicted to win a game between the teams with double the score.
The WFTDA has divided its global membership into six regions for the 2023-2024 season:
- Europe (EUR)
- Latin America (LATAM)
- North America Northeast (NAE)
- North America South (NAS)
- North America West (NAW)
- Oceania (OC)
The WFTDA Competitive Play Committee may split or combine regions in the future, based on the competitive needs of leagues and the organization.
Leagues are assigned to regions at the start of each season, but may also request region changes. A team may play for regional rankings in one region only, with the exception of the Geographically Unrestricted Region (GUR). If they choose to switch geographic regions mid-season, they will lose any game points accumulated in their old region and will need to start over in the new region. (Note: Teams they played do get to retain the points they earned from those matchups.)
Rankings are regional, meaning only games between teams in the same region count for regional rankings. Ranking points and rankings can not be compared from one region to another as there is no relative strength comparison possible from a purely algorithmic perspective.
Geographically Unrestricted Region (GUR)
In addition to the regional Hydra pathway, the WFTDA has created a Geographically Unrestricted Region, or “GUR”, which rhymes with the English word “spur.” It was created as an optional way to recognize, support, and rank teams without regards to their geographic location.
The GUR is not a “global” ranking, because much of the globe is not represented: Many WFTDA teams will not compete outside their own region and even historically, having world-wide rankings while only a small number of teams played international games led to poor “calibration,” especially between teams of Australia and Europe outside the top 10.
All teams sanctioning inter-regional games are automatically added to the GUR, and achieve a GUR ranking in addition to their regional ranking. A GUR ranking does not provide a pathway to the Hydra, but we hope it will provide additional gameplay opportunities for teams who want to travel for competitions outside of their region.
The Competitive Season
The 2023-2024 season runs from January 2023 to June 30, 2024. Regional Championships for each region take place at the end of the season, with the cutoff for qualifying rankings play scheduled approximately sixty days before the tournament date. Regional Championships count towards the current season.
The 2024-2026 season will run from July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2026.
Global Championships take place at the end of 2024 (2026, etc.) and games played there count towards the following season.
The WFTDA requires each region to determine an appropriate off-season annually, where no games will be sanctioned. Leagues are recommended to fully rest during that off-season, but may opt to continue league activities if necessary. Regional Championships may not be scheduled during an off-season month.
In 2023 all regions will take December as their off-season. Starting in 2024, all regions will be required to select two additional months (not necessarily consecutive) to have a total of three months off per year.
The WFTDA produces and publishes an official ranking for each region monthly, based on the games played up until the end of each calendar month. Teams are ranked by their Average Ranking Points (the Ranking Points calculated for a team based on all games they played in a season), in descending order. Detailed information on the algorithm and how game and monthly rankings are calculated is available in the 2023 Rankings Algorithm document. (Also available en français, en español, and auf Deutsch.)
The WFTDA may produce additional rankings, e.g. a live ranking that includes games played since the last official ranking. These rankings, if produced, are only for information purposes and do not affect any calculations.
Seasons and Seeding
Rankings are seasonal - only games played within a rankings season count towards a team’s ranking for that season. For 2023, teams were assigned a seeding based on the December 1, 2022 results in Flat Track Stats. After this first year, teams start the season with a seeding based on their ranking in the previous season. This seeding is for reference for teams to schedule games against appropriate opponents and will not affect their official ranking after the month in which the team plays their first sanctioned game.
So if a team with an existing seeding plays their first sanctioned game of the new season in September, their October 1st ranking will only be computed from their game(s) played in September. (If they play multiple games in September, the ranking points from these games will all be calculated based on the seeding from the previous season, as that is their most recent official ranking until the new ranking is assigned on October 1.)
Teams who do not have past results start unseeded, and their first game against a seeded or ranked opponent is a “seeding game” which determines their initial ranking. Seeding games must be played before any sanctioned games for ranking but there is no waiting period for the initial ranking to become effective. A team may even play a seeding game and then a regular sanctioned game later the same day.
Teams who feel their seeding is not representative of their true strength may also opt to discard their seeding and start unseeded instead.
Eligibility for Regional Championships
In order to be eligible for Regional Championships each season, a team will have to play at least 5 sanctioned games against teams that are reasonably “close” to them. This includes “seeding” games for the unseeded team.
A game is considered “close” if it has ANY of the following qualities:
- The actual score ratio of the game is between 0.25 and 4, or
- The predicted score ratio of the game, at the time of the game, is between 0.25 and 4, or
- The predicted score ratio of the game, at the time of the sanctioning application, is between 0.25 and 4, or
- The difference of the teams’ ranks, at the time of the sanctioning application, is less than 15.
Here is a video that explains the new competitive system and rankings.
The WFTDA posts rankings and seedings at the start of each month. Rankings and sanctioned game stats can be found at https://stats.wftda.com.
The WFTDA Charter Roster Policy has been updated to reflect important changes to allow for more people to play more roller derby.
- Member leagues may have more than one charter team (for an additional fee per team), or no team at all.
- Skaters may be on up to two active charter rosters at a time, and these rosters may be on any WFTDA team.
- Teams may have no more than 8 crossover skaters on any active rosters in the season and no more than 3 in the postseason.
Charter Roster Submission
WFTDA-member leagues may submit their charter rosters using the instructions provided here.
A team’s first charter for 2023 is effective immediately. Any future charter updates (adding a skater) have a 30-day waiting period to become effective with the submission day being Day 0. (So if you submit January 1, the charter is effective January 31.)
Starting June 1, 2023, all charters must be submitted 30 days prior to the game, no exceptions.
Publicly Viewable Charter Rosters
The public may view all the most recent, active rosters here.
Previous rosters, some of which may still be active, are available here.
Fair Play Principle
The rankings system is based on an assumption of faithful and honest gameplay, in which both teams are trying to get the best result possible, and the only intentional determinator of rank is the strength of the teams. Deliberate attempts to alter rankings directly in a way that does not reflect the true strength of the teams is considered deceptive and could be a violation of the WFTDA Code of Conduct.
This not only includes a team attempting to boost their strength through unsporting means (such as rostering “guest skaters” to get into Regional Championships, who will not be skating with the team during Regional Championships), but also attempts to lower their own ranking, or boost an opponent’s, by intentionally holding back (outside of slowing down to prevent injury or in a game past a 4:1 scoring ratio). It can also include attempts to get or maintain an inaccurate ranking by being overly picky with which games a team is willing to sanction.
For the 2023-2024 season, the WFTDA will be monitoring these requirements and may choose to remove or relax certain restrictions overall or selectively, if the ecosystem or a small number of teams face unexpected circumstances.
Regional and Global Championships
The WFTDA will support host-run championship tournaments in each Region and will work with member leagues in each region to determine the size and structure of the events.
For the first competitive cycle, Regional Championships may take place in either May or June 2024, except for Latin America, which should take place in April 2024.
- For the North American Regions (Northeast, West, South), WFTDA will seek hosts for 12-team, 3-day events, targeting June 2024
- For Europe, WFTDA will seek a host for a 12-team, 3-day event, targeting May 2024
- For Latin America, WFTDA will seek a host for a 4-team, 2-day event, targeting April or May 2024
- Oceania will be determined
- Global Championships will be a 12-16 team, 3-day event, targeting a host for October or November 2024
Hosting bids are now being accepted for the first round of Regional and World Championship events happening in 2024. More information and application instructions can be found at https://wftda.com/2024-host-bids.