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Fixture News


12 June 2015

The Football League have given fans an insight as to how the fixtures for the season are allocated.

Not just a light-hearted process, fixture release day - this year, 17th June - is one of the most eagerly anticipated dates in the football calendar.

Surrounded with excitement, it marks the start of the countdown to the new campaign for supporters, players and managers alike, and is the moment many begin their preparations for the upcoming nine months of compelling football. 

Deciding when teams play one another doesn't happen overnight, though, with The Football League's Fixtures Officer Paul Snellgrove giving fans an insight as to how it all happens.

When does The Football League's fixture compilation process start?

The process usually starts in November, when we have our first fixtures working party meeting. There, clubs get the chance to review the draft schedule and the policies put in place for the compilation process for the following season. 

The working party consists of officers from The Football League, the Premier League and the Football Association; along with a cross section of club representatives – two from the Premier League, two from the Championship, one from League 1 and one from League 2. 

Also, the Football Supporters' Federation are represented as well as the fixture compilers Atos. Atos are an outside IT contractor who run the fixture compiling software, which is unique and owned by The Football League and the Premier League. 

We then meet again in March, which is when schedules and policies are finalised prior to the compilation. At that point, all clubs are sent a fixtures questionnaire which is their chance to have their say on their fixtures for next season regarding specific dates and pairing arrangements. 

Any date requests, for example if they'd like a home or away fixture on a certain date, will go on that form, and are signed off by the police. There are generally a significant number of police requests for away fixtures due to events such as race meetings, music festivals or political party conferences. 

It must be hard – you tend not to realise how much of a jigsaw puzzle the process is...

People don't realise exactly everything but, of course, they're not expected to. In all, we have around 80 date requests across 72 clubs and the Premier League with more on top of that. 

Each of those requests has an impact on not only that club's fixtures, but the club they pair with, and if they're in a multi-club policing area, then those clubs also. In the West Midlands, for example, one date request will have an effect on all six clubs within that area. It's a case of knitting together a web. 

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