Competition management consists of initial setup and recurring administration of competitions of all levels, from children tournaments to major continental cups. Its most common features are team/roster submissions, scheduling of matches, allocation of referees and other officials to matches.
1. COMPETITION TYPES
1.1. Competition Type
Whenever a new competition is created, it must be based on a specific Competition Type. The competition type is a recurring template of a competition e.g. “Top Futsal Division”, while the competition itself is a specific instance/season of that type, e.g. “Top Futsal Coca-Cola League 21/22“. The competition type contains attributes that are permanent, and do not change year over year, such as competition discipline (sport) and age category. These attributes are inherited on all specific competitions of that type.
1.2. Team Type
There are two main categories of competitions, depending on the nature of participating teams: club competitions and national team competitions. Club competitions are the most common competitions governed underneath a national association. Beyond national team competitions and friendly matches (or tournaments) which are international, we also have the possibility to manage regional team competitions on a national level.
1.3. FIFA Discipline
COMET supports any of the 3 disciplines (sports) governed by FIFA: Football, Futsal and Beach Soccer. Each of these disciplines has its own rules of the game and the functionality of COMET is adjusted to each of them. E.g. match report functionality is different for Futsal (as opposed to Football) as it allows entering team events (accumulated fouls, time-outs), futsal-specific match events (6m penalty, 10m penalty) and futsal specific match roles (e.g. Timekeeper).
There are three gender options for a competition: male, female and mixed. Each competition must have a defined gender option, which impacts the eligibility rules for players. E.g., male players will not be eligible to play in female competitions, and will not be shown on the list of available players for that competition. The third (Mixed) gender option is most used in child competitions where boys and girls play matches together in gender-mixed teams.
1.5. Age Category
After selecting a gender, an age category must be defined, such as Seniors, U21, U19, U17, etc. The age category as well impacts the eligibility rules for players. E.g. a 22-year old player is not eligible to play in U17 competitions, and will not be shown on the list of available players for that competition. Age categories and their age constraints can be configured in accordance with Association requirements. Some other settings, such as match length, halftime break, number of players on the field are also defined on the age category level, but can be overridden on each specific competition.
A rank can be assigned to a competition type, e.g. Top-tier national division is rank 1, the second division is rank 2. Ranks are used for default sorting of competitions in application lists in COMET, COMET LIVE and third-party apps and websites presenting competition data from COMET.
2. COMPETITION SCHEDULING
In a round-robin competition, each team meets all other contestants in one or more rounds. E.g., Double Round Robin is the most common scenario, which assumes that a team will meet each other twice, once home and once away. The standard round-robin algorithm (Johan Berger) is predefined in COMET and is used to automatically create competitions rounds and assign matches (ordered pairs of teams) into rounds. While the Berger algorithm is a global standard and most widely adopted (in all sports), a custom national algorithm can be configured as well.
Elimination competition is used for qualification rounds, play-off rounds, cup competitions, where winners of 1 or 2-leg ties are promoted to the next round, while the losers are eliminated. The standard seed-bye algorithm is used for the automatic creation of rounds and matches (ties). Each round of an elimination competition (e.g. Quarterfinal) may consist of one or two legs. The system automatically promotes the winner into the next round.
Combination competition consists of several sub-competitions. The parent competition is of type Combination, and it has several child competitions which are most commonly of type round-robin or elimination. E.g. Copa Libertadores 2021 is a parent competition (type Combination). Child competitions are: Qualifiers (type Elimination), Group A, B, C, D (type Double Round Robin), Playoff (type Elimination)
2.4. Automated Match Creation
The matches can be automatically created based on standard round-robin and elimination algorithms. Round dates and times can be predefined and are then preset by default on all matches, per round. Match stadiums can also be predefined by default, based on that club/team default stadium, or the selected default stadium of that team for that specific competition.
In addition to automated competition scheduling, if necessary, the competition administrator can manually enter the matches in COMET, including rounds, dates, times, and stadiums for a specific competition. It is also possible to prefill a simple predefined Excel template, and then import it into COMET, which will trigger a batch creation of matches, as defined in the Excel.
A Gantt-like scheduling tool with drag-and-drop functionality allows competition administrators to easily reschedule matches in a view that spans across multiple facilities and pitches. It shows facilities and pitches on one dimension, and the timescale (daily, weekly or monthly view) on the other one, and allows visual comparison and drag-and-drop adjustments. It has the capability to alert on conflicts, i.e., two matches overlapping on one pitch.
3. COMPETITION CONFIGURATION
These settings are mostly inherited from the competition type and age category, and some of them, such as max-min date of birth (age) constraints, match length, halftime break, number of players on the field, can be overridden for that specific competition in this section.
The system can enforce various constraints in relation to the pre-match entry of lineups, such as a maximum number of players in the lineup, maximum substitutions in regular time versus extra time, whether rolling/flying substitutions are applicable, etc.
Based on the settings entered in this section, the system will enforce a maximum number of foreign players in the team registered for that competition, in the match lineup, or on the field.
The youth section is usually used for promoting young players in senior competitions. Based on the settings entered in this section, the system will enforce a minimum (or maximum) number of youth players (born after the reference date) on the field or in the match lineup.
It is possible to set a color for the competition, which will be used for displaying that competition in calendar view and in reports. Setting the initial status for match official appointments to Entered (instead of Scheduled), will allow appointers to make a batch update from status Entered to Scheduled, and control when appointment notifications are sent to all referees and match officials.
The disciplinary section regulates the number of accumulated yellow cards required for one match suspension. Counting the cards and enforcing the suspension is managed automatically by the system, and separately for players and team officials. Suspension scope defines the scope of competitions where the player is ineligible to play during the suspension (e.g., only in that competition, in all competitions in that Age Category, in all competitions in that sport, etc.), while the serving scope defines the scope of competitions where matches missed by the player will be counted as served.
4. REGISTRATION OF OFFICIALS
4.1. Match Officials
For each competition, the administrators can appoint/register a preselected list of Referees, Referee Assessors and other Match Officials. In that case, only those Match Officials explicitly appointed, will be eligible to officiate in that competition, and no other officials will appear as available for appointments. If no officials are preselected to the competition, then administrators will be able to appoint any official under that organization.
4.2. Competition Officials
Some officials have competition-related responsibilities, such as appointing referees (Referee Appointers), managing the competition (Competition Managers), or managing disciplinary matters (Disciplinary Managers). The administrators (Referee Admin, Competition Admin, Disciplinary Admin) can allocate these officials to specific competitions, and as such, grant them the right to execute their domain-specific actions for that subset of competitions.
4.3. Appointment Workflow
Match officials appointed to the competition have the possibility to confirm or reject that appointment. This is particularly useful for single-location tournament competitions, such as confederation qualifiers, where officials accept the allocation to the entire tournament, and if accepted, they then do not need to accept appointments to specific matches.
5. COMPETITION TEAM REGISTRATION
5.1. Players, Coaches and Staff
Depending on the configuration, players are added to the competition team (roster/catalog), prior to the competition. In this case, only players added to the competition team, can take part in a match. Otherwise, all registered players of the appropriate age and gender will be eligible to play in that competition. The same applies to coaches and staff.
Depending on the configuration, stadiums are added to the competition by the club. In this case, that stadium will be set by default to all home matches of that club/team, and will override any stadium setting on the club or team profile
Competition Team Workflows are configurable, e.g., in some cases, the Competition Team needs to be confirmed by the governing body that organizes the competition, after it has been submitted by the club.
6. APPOINTMENT OF OFFICIALS
The Referee Administrator can appoint referees and other match officials on a specific match, or use the Search Matches console to make appointments for multiple matches at the same time, in a matrix view, with matches on one dimension, and official roles on the other one. Indicators show referees who might already be occupied in that period of time or have reported an absence/unavailability.
The COMET system can send e-mail notifications regarding appointments and appointment updates via the platform automatically. Match officials are notified that they have been appointed to a match when the status of the match is changed from Entered to Scheduled. A batch status update and send-out of notifications are possible from the Search Matches console.
6.3. Appointment Workflow
After the match officials are appointed, and the status of the match is set to Scheduled, the officials receive an e-mail and push notification with the details of the appointment. Officials are then able to provide their response, i.e., confirm or reject the appointment. The association can configure the response options, so in some associations, a response is required, and the referee is not deemed officially appointed until she/he confirms the appointment, while in others the confirmation is not required, and the referee is deemed appointed right away.
6.4. Availability/Absence Workflows
The referees (and other officials) can submit themselves the dates and times when they are unavailable, which then helps Referee Admins and Competition Admins in assigning them to particular matches. While reappointing referees or match officials, the system displays all conflicting appointments or any other constraints (e.g. unavailability of referees) that are relevant for appointment decisions.
7.1. My Next/Previous Matches
The home page of referees and officials is “My Next Matches” console, where officials can see all the matches to which they have been appointed. After selecting the match from this list, the referee will be able to add events, confirm the match and change its status to played, while other officials will be able to complete their specific reports. Officials are able to see their previous appointments and access matches from the “My Previous Matches” console. On this console, referees are able to see their ratings and access assessments after they have been entered by Assessors and confirmed by Referee Admins.
7.2. Search Matches
Search matches console is used for searching and assigning match officials to the match, rescheduling and relocating matches, or making batch status updates of matches. Search Matches is presented in a matrix view, with matches shown on one dimension, and official roles on the other one.
7.3. My Competitions
My Competitions lists all competitions relevant to the user that is logged in. For administrators, it shows all competitions under that user’s organization, for competition, disciplinary managers, referee appointers, and match officials it shows all competitions to which they have been registered/appointed. It also has a calendar view where matches are presented on a calendar instead of being listed in a table.
7.4. Favorite Competitions
Any user can mark some competitions as favorites. In that case, all favorite competitions of that user will be presented under the Favorite Competitions console, which is convenient for quick access to the most relevant competitions.
The matches can be presented in a calendar in various views (monthly, weekly, daily) and colored in accordance with the color setting of the competition of that match. The calendar view is available on the Matches tab on the competition profile (all matches in that competition), on the club profile (all matches of that club and its teams), on the person profile (all matches where this person participated in any role, e.g. player or referee), on the stadium profile (all matches that are played on this stadium and its fields).
8. NATIONAL AND REGIONAL TEAMS
8.1. National Teams
National team players, coaches (e.g. Head coach, Assistant coach, Goalkeeper’s coach, etc.) and staff (e.g. Doctor, Physiotherapist, Kitman, Team manager, Nutritionist, etc.) are allocated in the system to their National Team. Both the national team profile and club profiles are visible in the system for all football roles.
Players, coaches and team officials can be allocated to the National Team in any FIFA-governed sport/discipline (e.g. Football, Futsal, Beach soccer). One national team player can be active in more than one football-related discipline (e.g. football and futsal).
8.3. Regional Teams
Beyond national team competitions and friendly matches (or tournaments) which are international, there is also the possibility to manage regional team competitions on a national level. Consequentially, players, coaches and staff can be allocated to their respective regional teams.