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Fixture News


13 June 2017

Bennett Dean
Albion celebrate Glenn Murray's important winner against Blackburn Rovers.

Brighton & Hove Albion will find out their 2017/18 Premier League fixture list at 9am tomorrow morning, but if you’ve ever wondered how the season schedule takes shape - here’s an explanation.

Compiling a fixture list for all 92 clubs in the top four divisions is no small feat - with a number of factors that have to be taken into account throughout the nine-month season that gets underway in August.

The meticulous process begins at the start of the year when the Premier League confirms playing dates - which take into account international dates from FIFA, European club competitions and fixtures added by the FA.

Sequencing is the methodology used to break the season down into five ‘sets’, which are then reversed in the second half of the season.

There are a number of ‘golden rules’ that have to be considered when sequencing. In any five-game spell, there must be a split of three home games and two away, or the other way around.

Also, a team will never have more than two home or away league games in a row, and where possible, a home and away game will come either side of an FA Cup tie.

No team will ever start or finish a season with two consecutive home or away games, as it would be deemed unfair on a team starting or finishing the campaign with back-to-back away fixtures.

Regarding the festive period, if a team is at home on Boxing Day, they will face an away trip on New Year’s Day or on the equivalent date.

Most teams are paired with another club when the fixtures are being considered, which prevents closely-located teams playing at home on the same day - such as Manchester City and Manchester United.

Clubs are asked to choose the partner club they would like to be paired with ahead of the new season, and also provide dates in which they wish not to play at home and if there are any clubs they would like to avoid on Boxing Day.

Following the completion of the last play-off final, clubs are placed in a pairing grid, which defines the dates they will be playing at home. The fixture computer understands who is home and away on chosen dates, and it then randomly mixes the teams to determine fixtures.

Once finalised, the fixtures are then reviewed for two days to make sure everything has been done to best match the requirements of each football club.

The 2,036 matches are then sent to the leagues, where they are then released to relevant press distributors before the official release time - this year being Wednesday 14th June at 9am.

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