No Fixtures On New Years Day This Time…..

Saturday, 14 June 2008, 16:09
2 mins read

January 1 2009 falls on a Thursday with the third round of the FA Cup scheduled for the Saturday immediately afterwards meaning that no fixtures will be scheduled for the opening day of the calendar year – traditionally one of the most popular days for watching football up and down the country.

The football league have confirmed that they considered a couple of alternatives – including a full fixture list on New Year's Eve – but this was dismissed on the basis that police forces would not allow it. 

David Cookson – the football league's fixtures secretary explains "The FA Cup is traditionally staged on the first Saturday in January and this season the first day of 2009 falls on a Thursday which is a day when we wouldn't normally have a league programme on. It is a shame, but we can't schedule matches on New Years Eve because the Police Forces up and down the Country would not accept them because it is undoubtedly the busiest night of the year for them.

"There was an alternative, which was considered but wouldn't have gained us anything and that was playing on 1st January and then on Sunday 4th January and putting the FA Cup back a week but that created its own problem with scheduling so it was decided to leave things as they are for this season."

As you can imagine producing a list of fixtures takes upwards of a year of planning although most is done in a six month period from the start of each calendar year.  The football league say that they never schedule more than two home or away games in succession and out of every five fixtures scheduled at the start per club three will be at home and two away or vice versa.   They also say that there should only ever be a 50/50 split of home/away midweek night fixtures or 60/40 at worst.

The league also say that clubs and fans have an input – Cookson added "The clubs are given the opportunity by means of a fixture questionnaire to have an input into how the fixtures are produced. That involves questions about any specific date requests that they might want to avoid and any clubs that they need to be paired with to avoid being at home on the same day.

That information is fed into us and our job is to sift through and prioritise those requests, for example police requests are given quite a high priority. Our key objective is to ensure that we can get all the matches played, the integrity of the list is paramount throughout and we want to approach every aspect of the compilation process in a fair and equitable manner.

"We have a member of The Football Supporters' Federation on our fixtures working party and they oversee the process under which we undertake to compile the fixture lists. We ask supporters with any individual requests to feed that information directly to their clubs and if the club supports those views they can inform us via the questionnaire."

The football fixture lists for the new season are released on Monday at 10am – you can view the full article on how the fixtures are produced via the official site at this link

Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.

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