Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 194, Issue 1, pp 223–240 | Cite as

Comparing league formats with respect to match importance in Belgian football

  • Dries R. Goossens
  • Jeroen Beliën
  • Frits C. R. Spieksma


Recently, most clubs in the highest Belgian football division have become convinced that the format of their league should be changed. Moreover, the TV station that broadcasts the league is pleading for a more attractive competition. However, the clubs have not been able to agree on a new league format, mainly because they have conflicting interests. In this paper, we compare the current league format, and three other formats that have been considered by the Royal Belgian Football Association. We simulate the course of each of these league formats, based on historical match results. We assume that the attractiveness of a format is determined by the importance of its games; our importance measure for a game is based on the number of teams for which this game can be decisive to reach a given goal. Furthermore, we provide an overview of how each league format aligns with the expectations and interests of each type of club.


Tournament design Match importance Football Simulation Optimization 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dries R. Goossens
    • 1
  • Jeroen Beliën
    • 2
    • 3
  • Frits C. R. Spieksma
    • 4
  1. 1.PostDoc researcher for Research Foundation, Flanders, Center for Operations Research and Business Statistics (ORSTAT), Faculty of Business and EconomicsKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Research Center for Modelling and Simulation, Faculty of Economics and ManagementHogeschool-Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Affiliated researcher Operations Management Group, Department of Decision Sciences and Information Management, Faculty of Business and EconomicsKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  4. 4.Center for Operations Research and Business Statistics (ORSTAT), Faculty of Business and EconomicsKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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