The 2019/20 English Football League schedule is set to be released tomorrow morning, with the actual creation of the fixture list known to be one of the most complicated tasks of the year.
So how is it compiled?
The EFL and the English Premier League are using the same contractors that they have used for the past few years - who dig deep into each club and work out the best games for each particular week.
For example, policing and the timing of derby matches are given due consideration across all three divisions.
Also, teams that share the same city usually have their home games alternated to not over-stretch local police forces.
The process of compiling the fixture lists commonly begins in November, when the Football League and Premier League will meet with the ‘Fixtures Working Party’ to create an initial schedule. This is then worked on again in March, when agreements with the FA, the Football Supporters Association, and the actual Clubs happens.
After the schedule has been generated and checked over by the ‘Fixtures Working Party’, it is also then checked by the EFL’s Football Services Department where they will manually check the proposed schedule. Then, it is sent to an IT Contracting firm where they then will check it themselves with certain reporting software to see if there are any problems contained within it.
Then the schedule is assessed by transport services and the Police to see if it’s the best available for both of those agencies.
Many checks are carried out to make the schedule the easiest and simplest for teams, fans, and the police alike.
Even though the schedule and fixture list is checked thoroughly as stated already, the process always has faults - such as the away teams having to travel a vast amount of miles for a midweek game for example.
The EFL state:
“The aim is to make sure that a club isn’t doing higher than its average overall mileage midweek. That said, we also have to consider local derbies and the more well-attended fixtures and play these on a weekend.”
So although the EFL do try to reduce those long travelling nights, they will invariably happen a couple times for each side over the course of the season.
Check back here from 09:00 tomorrow, when you will find out our full 2019/20 fixture list!