In a paper published in JORS:
- Kendall G. (2008) Scheduling English Football Fixtures Over Holiday Periods. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 59(6), pages 743-755 (doi:10.1057/palgrave.jors.2602382)
I investigated if it was possible to produce superior fixtures for the Christmas/New Year Period with respect to minimising the distance that is traveled by supporters on two particular days.
One of the issues that the underlying model had to capture was that certain teams could not play at home on the same day. For example:
- Manchester United and Manchester City
- Liverpool, Everton and Tranmere
- Chelsea and Fulham
- Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich
Teams that are paired in this way are called pairs (even though there might be more than two teams involved). A problem arises as it is not possible to eliminate all the pair clashes. That is, some paired teams have to play at home on the same day.
In the JORS paper, all the pair clashes were treated equally (e.g. Manchester United and Manchester City playing at home on the same day is not considered any more, or any less, important than Liverpool and Tranmere playing at home on the same day).
I am not sure if any given pair clash should be considered more (or less) important than any other, but I suspect so.
One of the things I plan to do is analyse the past few seasons fixtures and gauge if certain pair clashes are allowed more than others. Then I will use this evidence to weight the clashes during the process of searching for a good set of fixtures.