Premier League: Compiler Reveals Interesting Secrets on How They Come up With Fixture Schedule

Premier League: Compiler Reveals Interesting Secrets on How They Come up With Fixture Schedule

Rene Otinga
June 14, 2023 at 2:23 PM
  • The Premier League fixture schedule for the 2023/24 season is set to be announced on June 15
  • Several teams in the league could be set for up to three games per week across all competitions
  • A number of factors are usually in place in determining how the season's fixtures are scheduled

Have you ever wondered how the fixture schedule is worked out in English football?

Fans typically tend to cry foul when the schedule is announced ahead of the new season, depending on the games their team is accorded.

But unlike popular belief, the fixture schedule is not ‘copy-pasted’ from season to season, as the process of scheduling games is a gruelling procedure that takes into account 2,036 matches across the top four divisions.

Premier League
The NBC Sports logo with a Premier League logo before the Premier League match between Everton FC and AFC Bournemouth at Goodison Park on May 28, 2023 in Liverpool, England. Photo by Visionhaus.
Source: Getty Images

In addition, the process is time-consuming and typically takes six months.

When does fixture compiling start?

As revealed by Glen Thompson, a fixture list compiler at Atos, the process of compiling fixtures for a new season starts during the second half of an ongoing one.

Thompson revealed that his compilation typically started in January after studying the dates from both FIFA and European club competitions.

The English FA will also add dates for its own competitions, which includes the FA Cup, the Carabao Cup, and the Community Shield, per the Premier League website.

At this point, several stakeholders are also consulted, including fan representatives, from the Football Supporters' Federation, whose views are also considered.

In March, Premier League clubs will receive a form which they will fill up dates they wish to not be at home. These will be answered in conjunction with local police.

Compiling the English season fixtures

Once the compilers understand the composition of each division, in terms of promoted and relegated teams at the end of May, each club is placed in a pairing grid which in turn determines the dates the clubs will play at home.

There are, however, several rules to adhere to while coming up with the schedule:

  1. No team can have three consecutive home games.
  2. No team can start or finish the season with two home or two away matches.
  3. A team that is at home on Christmas Day will be away on New Years Day or an equivalent date.
  4. A Saturday home-away sequence is adhered to as much as possible.

Factoring in travel logistics

The compilers also consider travel logistics, such that complications are avoided for clubs from the same area travelling on the same train lines across the Football League.

Also, fixtures during Christmas and New Years period consider that travel needs to be minimized as much as possible.

For disgruntled clubs who cried foul over their fixtures in the previous season, the compilers do their best to avoid a repeat of the same in the new season, although Thompson admitted “it is hard to please everyone”.

Rashford upset by City's treble

Manchester United star, Marcus Rashford became the second star from Old Trafford to comment on Manchester City’s recent treble, as reported by Sports Brief.

As an academy graduate and true red, he understood what it meant for their club rivals to match their achievements and sees it as a wake-up call for next season.

Rashford spoke about how the best team that played the most consistently would certainly win the most trophies, adding Man City had deserved the achievement.

Rene Otinga photo
Rene Otinga
HOD- EPL I Serie A
English Premier League - EPL