Soccer schedules in Europe: an overview

D.R. Goossens, F.C.R. Spieksma

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34 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we give an overview of the competition formats and the schedules used in 25 European soccer competitions for the season 2008–2009. We discuss how competitions decide the league champion, qualification for European tournaments, and relegation. Following Griggs and Rosa (Bull. ICA 18:65–68, 1996), we examine the popularity of the so-called canonical schedule. We investigate the presence of a number of properties related to successive home or successive away matches (breaks) and of symmetry between the various parts of the competition. We introduce the concept of ranking-balancedness, which is particularly useful to decide whether a fair ranking can be made. We also determine how the schedules manage the carry-over effect. We conclude by observing that there is quite some diversity in European soccer schedules, and that current schedules leave room for further optimizing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-651
JournalJournal of Scheduling
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Soccer
  • Scheduling
  • Canonical schedule
  • Ranking-balancedness
  • Breaks
  • Mirroring
  • Carry-over effect

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