Welcome to the Fulham Supporters’ Trust Colour Coded Fixture List which tries to help Fulham fans decide when it is safe to buy tickets or travel for matches without the risk of them changing.
For a detailed explanation of how this works, keep reading. Otherwise you can jump straight to the fixture list using the button below. If viewing on a phone or tablet, landscape orientation is best.
What causes fixture changes?
Each season supporters are presented with an ever more complex fixture list which seems to change at short notice, throwing the best laid plans awry. What causes all these changes?
Selection for domestic broadcast
The current domestic broadcast deals for the Premier League give three different companies the rights to broadcast fixtures. With the 3pm Saturday kick of time protected, this means that sometimes as many as six of the ten games each weekend can be moved to accommodate broadcast. Sky and TNT (formerly BT Sport) are responsible for the majority of the moves each week, whilst Amazon Prime will show every game live in two full mid-week rounds (weeks of 5th and 26th December).
The following table lists the typical weekend slots used by the broadcasters to show both Premier League and EFL games as well as matches from the Scottish Premiership. This is useful to know when a broadcast announcement has been made but slots are still available and therefore at risk of being filled later. The slots usually filled by Premier League games are highlighted in bold.
|TNT (formerly BT)
It has often been difficult to determine when the announcement of fixture moves will take place, although last season the Premier League published a calendar of announcement dates which it didn’t always meet. This season they have dispensed with this calendar, but offered the following “commitment“:
The Premier League has committed to giving supporters a minimum of six weeks’ notice (from the first match in the relevant month) on broadcast selections until December 2023, and five weeks’ from January 2024 until Match Round 37.
In theory this might give us up to nine weeks’ notice for pre-Christmas fixtures falling at the end of a calendar month, but we’ll reserve judgement as to how well this commitment is met.
Domestic cup clashes
As clubs make progress in the League Cup and FA Cup, some scheduled dates for the later rounds clash with the Premier League fixture list. This happened to Fulham last season when our FA Cup quarter final at Old Trafford caused our league game at Liverpool to be re-scheduled and means that we have to track not just our own cup progress but that of our league competititors too. This season, the possible clashes are
- 24 Feb – Man Utd (away) / Carabao Cup Final
- 16 Mar – Spurs (home) / FA Cup 6th round
- 20 Apr – Liverpool (home) / FA Cup semi final
European competition clashes
Although Fulham didn’t qualify for European competition, eight Premier League teams did and the scheduling of these fixtures often has an impact on the following (and occasionally preceding) league games. This is particularly the case with teams competing in the Europa League and Europa Conference League who generally play on Thursdays; any Premier League fixtures following a Thursday European game will be moved at least to the Sunday even without TV broadcast to allow for recovery time. Similarly teams who play away in the Champions League on a Wednesday can’t have their following league game moved to a Friday or early Saturday slot by the TV companies, which means that any domestic broadcast will be on Sunday or Monday.
A quick glance at the fixture list shows that before Christmas we have four away games that follow our opponents midweek European games and, as three of these games are Europa League or Europa Conference League games, our matches will almost certainly move to the Sunday, or possibly even Monday. These are
- 28 Oct – Brighton (away) follows Europa League game
- 11 Nov – Aston Villa (away) follows Europa Conference League game
- 2 Dec – Liverpool (away) follows Europa League game
- 16 Dec – Newcastle (away) follows Champions League game
Beyond Christmas much depends on qualification from the European group stages, but there are a further seven games which could be impacted in a similar way which we need to keep an eye on.
The final complexity surrounding European fixtures occurs when the scheduling of a Champions League game by UEFA, often on a Tuesday, causes a domestic broadcaster to have to relinquish an earlier Sunday or Monday slot for that team or even delay match selection. Situations have occurred in the past where this caused knock-ons to the games the domestic broadcaster had already chosen and consequent unexpected late notice unexpected fixture moves. These conditional picks are just about the hardest moves to track and predict as they can mean games not involving any teams competing in Europe are moved to accommodate the revised broadcast schedule.
The FSA has this handy explainer on conditional picks, which are becoming more and more common.
Recovery between matches over Christmas
Although there are only three matches scheduled between 23 and 30 December this season, the Premier League now stipulates a minimum recovery period for teams of 48 hours between matches. This means a fixture can be re-scheduled as a knock-on effect of a earlier move even if it hasn’t itself been selected for broadcast. An example of this last season was our game at Leicester, which was pushed back 24 hours as Leicester’s previous game had been moved for TV.
Throughout the season there are four breaks to accomodate the international schedule. These are all marked on the fixture list as International Break and, in practice, provide a free weekend in the calendar.
A fifth break this season is the Winter Break in January which is slightly more complex. It is shown in the fixture list on Saturday January 20th, but nearer the time half of the fixtures currently scheduled for Saturday January 13th will be re-allocated to 20th. This means half of the Premier League teams will break on the weekend of 13th and half on 20th, allowing the TV companies to keep on broadcasting. We won’t know which weekend our game against Chelsea (away) will be allocated to until some time in October.
How to read the colour coded fixture list
To the best of our ability we will monitor all of the move risks listed above, mark them in the Colour Coded Fixture List and classify each game as either green (no longer likely to change), amber (could still change) or red (has changed). The specific colours have been selected to support use by colour blind readers, but symbols on the left of the table also indicate this status.
Other key points in the calendar, such as breaks and cup dates, are shown for information and the fixture list also indicates the obvious clashes and shows the expected dates of broadcast announcements, albeit these can often be quite fluid.
This definitely isn’t an exact science, and relies heavily on assessing limited information from the Premier League and the domestic broadcasters, coupled with a detailed look at how TV slots have been filled with games from various leagues. We also have to keep an eye on activities at the other teams in the borough. We’ll keep updating as the season progresses.
Fixture has changed
Fixture could still change
Fixture no longer likely to change
The last update took place on Monday 5 February 2024.
If viewing on a phone or tablet, landscape orientation is best.