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Compiling the fixtures: The festive period

9 Jun 2019
Etihad at Christmas

The man behind compiling the 2019/20 fixture list on the many factors that determine when Premier League matches are played

With the release of the 2019/20 Premier League fixture list, Glenn Thompson of Atos, who help to compile the season's match programme, reveals how it is drawn up.

Do you consider travel issues?

Yes. We look at whether we have got clubs from the same area travelling on the same trainlines across the EFL and the Premier League on the same day.

We want to avoid having various "pinch points" on the rail and road network.

We also tell the computer to try to minimise travel on Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Does the geographical distribution of PL clubs affect your workings? 

Where clubs are located does have an impact on the process.

There are seven northern clubs and that becomes quite important when you start looking at things such as the festive fixtures and midweek matches.

It's not ideal having a split like that but it's a national competition and that's how the league has worked out.

We tell the computer to try to minimise travel on Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

The priority goes to the Christmas fixtures. For the midweek matches, sometimes we have a greater distance of travel than we would prefer, just to give a more equitable programme across the whole season.

Also in this series

Part 1: How the Premier League fixture list is compiled
Part 2: The impossible job
Part 3: Treating clubs equally
Part 5: Marathons add to complexities

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