Ahead of release date, Paul Snellgrove of the English Football League explains the process.
It's nearly time! The moment fans of EFL clubs can really start the countdown to the next nine months of compelling football...
It can only be fixture release day!
The fixture compilation prior to the big day – this year it's Wednesday 22nd June, at 9am – doesn't happen overnight, and we wanted to give you the chance to ask the main man behind the process some questions to get more of an insight into what happens.
So, after collecting your questions on Twitter and via Facebook, we caught up with Competitions Manager Paul Snellgrove, who has extensive experience of compiling the fixtures, to get some answers.
When does the fixture compilation process start for any one season and can you explain the process in more detail?
The process usually starts in November, when we have our first fixtures working party meeting. There, clubs get the chance to review the draft schedule and the policies put in place for the compilation process for the following season.
The working party consists of officers from the EFL, the Premier League and the Football Association, along with a cross section of club representatives – two from the Premier League, two from the Sky Bet Championship, one from Sky Bet League One and one from Sky Bet League Two.
Also, the Football Supporters' Federation are represented as well as the fixture compilers Atos. Atos are an outside IT contractor, who run the fixture compiling software, which is unique.
We then meet again in March, which is when schedules and policies are finalised prior to the compilation. At that point, all clubs are sent a fixtures questionnaire which is their chance to have their say on their fixtures for next season regarding specific dates and pairing arrangements.
Clubs have the opportunity to submit date requests. They all have local events taking place to take into consideration – music festivals, race meetings, rugby matches, international fixtures, political party conferences – and we try to avoid all of those.
With every date request that's met, there's a knock-on effect somewhere else which may have a bearing on that club's home and away sequence, or the number of midweek matches they get that are at home or away. So we have to weigh up every date request on its merits.
Each request has an impact on not only that club's fixtures, but the club they pair with, and if they're in a multi-club policing area, then those clubs also. In the West Midlands, for example, one date request will have an effect on all six clubs within that area. It's a case of knitting together a web.
In all, we have around 80 date requests across 72 EFL clubs, and the Premier League have more on top of that. We do achieve an extremely high percentage of date requests, though, to make things easier for the clubs and police forces involved.