Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 275, Issue 2, pp 715–730 | Cite as

Scheduling a non-professional indoor football league: a tabu search based approach

  • David Van BulckEmail author
  • Dries R. Goossens
  • Frits C. R. Spieksma
Original - OR Modeling/Case Study


This paper deals with a real-life scheduling problem of a non-professional indoor football league. The goal is to develop a schedule for a time-relaxed, double round-robin tournament which avoids close successions of games involving the same team in a limited period of time. This scheduling problem is interesting, because games are not planned in rounds. Instead, each team provides time slots in which they can play a home game, and time slots in which they cannot play at all. We present an integer programming formulation and a heuristic based on tabu search. The core component of this algorithm consists of solving a transportation problem, which schedules (or reschedules) all home games of a team. Our heuristic generates schedules with a quality comparable to those found with IP solvers, however with considerably less computational effort. These schedules were approved by the league organizers, and used in practice for the seasons 2009–2010 till 2016–2017.


Time-relaxed scheduling Non-professional Indoor football Tabu search 



The computational resources (Stevin Supercomputer Infrastructure) and services used in this work were provided by the VSC (Flemish Supercomputer Center), funded by Ghent University, FWO and the Flemish Government department EWI.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economics and Business AdministrationGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and Computer ScienceTU EindhovenEindhovenThe Netherlands

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