Fairness in penalty shootouts: Is it worth using dynamic sequences?

László Csató, Dóra Gréta Petróczy

The sequence of moves in a dynamic team tournament may distort the ex-ante winning probabilities and harm efficiency. This paper compares seven soccer penalty shootout rules that determine the kicking order, from a theoretical perspective. Their fairness is evaluated in a reasonable model of First Mover Advantage. We also discuss the probability of reaching the sudden death stage. In the case of stationary scoring probabilities, dynamic mechanisms are not better than static rules. However, it is worth compensating the second-mover by making it the first-mover in the sudden death stage. Our work has the potential to impact decision-makers who can guarantee fairer outcomes in dynamic tournaments by a carefully chosen sequence of actions.

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