How The Premier League Fixture List Is Compiled

Organising 2021/22's 380 matches is a complex process, as fixture compiler Glenn Thompson explains

The release of the 2021/22 Premier League fixtures at 09:00 BST on Wednesday 16 June will be the result of a complex process and lots of hard work.

Glenn Thompson of Atos, who helps to compile the season's 380-match fixture list programme, reveals how the fixture list is drawn up. 

How do the fixtures get processed? 

We cannot do anything until we know the composition of each division, which is after the last EFL playoff. Then we can start looking at the main bit of compiling the fixtures. 

It is a matter of placing each of the clubs in a pairing grid, which basically defines the dates they will be at home.  

For every date in the season, the fixture computer knows who is at home and who is away and then it will mix them up randomly to determine which matches will take place on which date. 

What happens if there are any problems? 

If we have got any issues, we might have to go back and start again to produce a different set of fixtures. I'm reviewing the fixtures all the time to ensure other things can be met.

What happens if there are any problems? 

If we have got any issues, we might have to go back and start again to produce a different set of fixtures. I'm reviewing the fixtures all the time to ensure other things can be met. 

Do clubs from the same area play at home on the same day? 

Most clubs will have a partner club they cannot clash with. 

There are the obvious ones – Manchester United and Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton – and then when you get into London it gets a bit more complex and less obvious.  

Is it the impossible job? 

You can't satisfy everyone. It's a compromise across all clubs; you can't do anything to favour any one club. 

There are 2,036 matches across the Premier League and EFL over a nine-month period. 

The ideal solution is to ensure that those matches can all be played when scheduled. 

How is the fixture list checked? 

Traditionally the Premier League, the EFL and Atos representatives will review the fixtures over a number of days, looking at every date in the season to make sure that wherever possible we have met everything we have been asked to. 

The computer is very useful during the review because if we do not want a certain fixture on a particular date, it will give us alternate dates for that fixture to be moved to. 

It can be that changing one match may require 40 other changes. 

Do you review past seasons' fixtures and learn from them? 

You always learn in this job. There are new things that come along. Playing dates, competitions and leagues change every year. 

It's almost like starting from scratch again every time we do it. 

If there are issues with a club's fixtures one year, you try to take that into account in the next year and try to ensure if there is an undesirable set of fixtures, they don't get it two seasons in a row. 

After the fixtures are released, what do you do until the whole thing starts again? 

I have a lot of fixtures to do for various leagues like the National League, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship. 

 

That takes me through to mid-July and then I go back to my main IT role at Atos, delivering digital services for a large public sector organisation. 


Olumide Adewale

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