## How to work out fixtures## Rough and Ready or Scientific?Working out fixtures is a science and it is not easy to ensure that every club has a game in every round and that no clubs more than, say, two consecutive home or away games. Add to that the desire to keep certain teams from playing at home at the same time, e.g. Liverpool/Everton, Man Utd/Man City, and it is a very complex science. The rough and ready approach, of course, can be perfectly adequate for our fantasy leagues, but if you want a bit of realism, then the scientific approach is what you need. So, I will go into the science of calculating fixtures but first I will illustrate the basic system for 16 teams, whcih does not fully achieve the aims but works outreasonably well. The reason it works is because 16 is a power of two and divides evenly down to one. ## Basic 16-team methodWith 16 teams, you can divide the division down into groups of two teams, which aids the calculation of a proper fixture list. This system can be analysed by looking at the LOGacta fixtures and results chart. For the first set of fixtures, the division is divided into two halves of eight teams each. The fixtures are then created by matching the two halves against each other and then varying the opponents by one in the list each time (for the ease of reference we will call these
This will produce 16 out of the 30 fixtures for each club. At the next stage the division is divided into four groups of four, with the first group playing the seconf group and the third group playing the fourth. Using the same method as above, this produces the next 8 fixtures.
The league is then broken down into 8 groups of 2 and, with each group of two playing the next group of two, another four fixtures are created, a total of 28 out of 30. The final two fixtures are created by the playing the teams within the groups of two against each other home and away, thus completing a standard 16-team fixture list. ## The Scientific MethodThe method described above is workable because 16 breaks down to 2 or 1 without any remainder, but what if it was a league of 18 teams, or 20, or 22? The method would not work because you would end up with an odd number of clubs in the groups for the later stages. So, for this method we will look at a half-season's fixtures (the second half of the season is just the same fixtures but reversed). If we take an 18-team division as an example, the first 9 fixtures would be easy enough, as each half of the league would play the other half, the The next problem is to ensure that no club is given more than two consecutive away or home fixtures. There is a way of doing this but it is quite difficult to explain, so the following list will hopefully illustrate this as well as showing how the
Based on the above, the entire fixture list for an 18-team league is as follows (half-season). Note that I ususally place the
This system also works for 22 teams. The system for 20 teams is slightly different and rather than going onto the details of it here is an example of the system that I use for the Premier League. (Requires Adobe PDF Reader). |