New article by Mario Guajardo
The article "Scheduling the South American Qualifiers to the 2018 FIFA World Cup by Integer Programming" by Guillermo Durán, Mario Guajardo, and Denis Sauré.
Article: Scheduling the South American Qualifiers to the 2018 FIFA World Cup by Integer Programming, by Guillermo Durán, Mario Guajardo, and Denis Sauré.
Every four years, the 10 national teams members of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) compete for one of the South American slots in the final phase of the FIFA World Cup. The qualifying competition consists of a double round robin tournament. The matches are scheduled in 9 closely spaced pairs known as double rounds. Every team plays twice in each double round. The tournament is spread over 2 years, so the double rounds are months apart. After using the same mirrored schedule for about twenty years, and persistent complaints from its members, CONMEBOL decided to change the schedule for the 2018 World Cup. Supported by one of CONMEBOL’s members, we used integer programming to construct schedules that overcome the main drawbacks of the previous approach. After exploring many design criteria, we proposed a candidate schedule based on a French scheme. The main feature of the proposed schedule is that every team plays once at home and once away on each double round, a departure from traditional symmetric (mirrored) schemes. This proposal was unanimously approved by CONMEBOL members and is currently being used in the qualifier tournament for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.