The 2016 new front end

We hope you like the new front end of FixturesLive – our fourth major makeover in 15 years. Mercifully the old designs are no longer visible.

As you will probably have seen, it is mobile-friendly – “responsive” in the lingo – so will fit desktop, tablet and mobile, and we’ve managed to do this without having to change the links that people use – which, I hope you can understand, is no small achievement (so we’re rather pleased with ourselves). Notable issues are:

  • this layout has been applied to all public pages, plus the small set of ‘user’ screens immediately after people log in (My Details and so on)
  • it’s easier to find things, and you can now save your favourites
  • the facility to subscribe to turn adverts off is to be set live shortly
  • more work will follow, to the public screens, so they will work better on mobile devices
  • our set of old-fashioned mobile-specific screens will be killed off at the end of October
  • We will be applying the same layout to popular ‘admin-side’ areas, starting with the Club Member area – this will take time, so bear with us

If you have any feedback, let us know.

For the geeks out there, we have used Twitter Bootstrap.

Fixture editing: a change

There are many clubs who like having all of their club’s fixtures on FixturesLive – even if some of their leagues have yet to join. This is particularly true of hockey in England, where, for some clubs, they just want to complete the full picture. Having 100% coverage of a club’s fixtures on FixturesLive helps everyone see what’s what in one place (usually plugged into a club’s own web site). It also helps Fixture Secretaries manage pitch bookings; captains manage availability, match fees and so on.

A lot of clubs have been adding their ‘missing’ league fixtures as friendlies for years, but that had limitations. We’ve been asked  to improve on this.

From now on, it is possible to add and edit friendlies and assign them to ‘away’ venues, and edit the time and notes for a fixture, to say ” Acme League Div 1″ to show that these are, in fact, league fixtures.

This will help relevant clubs, but, by opening things up a little, there is some scope for problems, because it is now possible for a club to create friendlies at your club, on your pitches, without your knowledge. We expect that any problems will be few, but we have upgraded the audit trail, and added it to the screens in the Club Admin area, so who can see what was changed, when, and by whom, and – importantly – their email address.

Friendlies will still appear as friendlies – no league tables will be generated – from the public side of things the only real change is that notes will now appear. But we hope this helps. Let us have any feedback by emailing us at

This is as far as we think we can go with clubs managing fixtures which aren’t in leagues.

To go further requires either the league to join FixturesLive, or for someone to take on the maintenance of a copy of the official league data, which was covered in this article: Publication policy change, and mixed feelings

Umpire appointment integration arrives!

As signalled earlier in the year, we’ve now integrated with the leading system for the management of umpires and match officials – Tex Solutions (TS).

On a typical team page, you may now see whistle – click on it…


That gives you the umpires and match official for that fixture…


How? Well our systems talk to each other twice a day to exchange data.

TS and ourselves are now talking to leagues and umpire/referee bodies to extend this across sports and countries.

Want to know more? contact

Publication policy change, and mixed feelings…

We have, after 13 years, changed our publication policy, but with mixed feelings.

From now on, we will, if a club requests, allow the fixtures, results and tables of leagues that relate to the club in question to be displayed and managed in our system.

Why have we made this policy change?

Primarily because other companies have been displaying league tables etc. without the relevant league’s consent for a number of years, and we don’t want to exclude the clubs who rely on our system from doing the same. Clubs ask us to carry their leagues to help them simplify the management of their fixtures, selections and membership administration.

Why does FixturesLive have ‘mixed feelings’?

We serve nearly all hockey leagues in the UK, and most have been with us for over a decade. We respect leagues’ decisions not to use FixturesLive, however we would equally love them to be part of what we are trying to do.

We can see that the duplication of data will not be welcome by some leagues, but what we do serves all: clubs, governing bodies, supporters and, from this coming season, umpiring associations (via a new feature developed jointly with Tex Solutions), as well as leagues.

So we’re continually trying to balance everyone’s desires for the visibility of data, versus its control. We hope that, following this change, everyone will be able to see more of what we do. At the same time we are very conscious that this may affect leagues’ future decision-making. We very much hope everyone understands why we are making this change.

We continue to work towards a better-integrated and better-presented domestic hockey scene in the UK, for the benefit of all.

What are the principal benefits of using FixturesLive, for leagues?

  • All core features are free
  • A modern system, upgraded over time without cost
  • Leagues keep full management control
  • Easily plugged into any web site
  • Integrates with other leagues/cups at club level
    • clubs can manage all their venues/times in one place, across all leagues/cups
    • clubs can see all their fixtures/results integrated across all leagues/cups – giving them a single overview of what’s on by team and club
  • Integration with umpiring associations (to be completed shortly)
    • Fixture data inc. venues/times only entered once
    • Appointments visible via FixturesLive

Is it legal to duplicate league data?

We believe so, having taken legal advice. League data contains club data, so isn’t solely ‘owned’ by a league. We would much prefer that a league did own all its data, and we would be happy to respect that. We have done as much since 2001; others no longer do.

How will the data be managed?

Obviously accuracy is very important, so we will be asking the clubs involved to commit to keeping the duplicated data up to date. If any league would like assist by passing us, or the clubs, data, please do let me know. We will take action to deal with poorly-maintained data, as this is obviously counterproductive to all involved.

Hockey’s ‘digital future’ – the league perspective

An open letter to all administrators of hockey leagues in the UK (whether using FixturesLive or not) (copied to national governing bodies, umpiring associations, Tex Solutions and made available at 

Dear League Administrator,

Hockey’s ‘digital future’ – the league perspective

As you are probably aware, the vast majority of hockey leagues in the UK, and all four governing bodies, use FixturesLive. We have achieved this position almost entirely by word of mouth over the last 14 years. We want to let you know of planned developments, and longer-term possibilities, because the ‘digital future’ of our sport is becoming clearer. We want to make sure everyone understands the direction of travel, and we want to invite your comments.

As ever, FixturesLive works in a benign and professional way for the sport, stitching together the complex, overlapping patchwork quilt of data that we all rely on. We are, of course, in close discussion with the national governing bodies, but can’t speak for them.

This letter covers the following topics:

1. Recent upgrade of Competition Admin area
2. Umpire appointments integration
3. Electronic match sheets
4. Player registration
5. Data rights and accuracy
6. Mobile app
7. Web sites
8. League-club communications

1             Recent upgrade of Competition Admin area

We have completely rewritten this area, to make it much easier to use. Feedback so far has been very good. It will remain in ‘beta’ until major leagues have created their 2014/15 competitions. You can see some screen grabs here:

2           Umpire appointments integration

We’re aware that, in some leagues that don’t use FixturesLive, one major issue is the accuracy of fixture dates/times/venues for umpire appointments, and the desire to remain with existing umpire appointments systems, as provided by Tex Solutions.

We met with Tex Solutions last year, and agreed to work together. In fact, the integration problem was solved for England’s national leagues some years ago, with FixturesLive being the ‘master’ for fixture dates/venues/times, and Tex Solutions being the ‘master’ for umpire appointments. What we need to do is to display national league appointments in FixturesLive (we’re working on that), and to provide a way for all other leagues to work in the same way. England’s North region has recently decided to adopt the same solution.

This will take time to implement, as it’s fairly complex, but any league wanting to pursue this integration should contact either Tex Solutions or ourselves.

The main message we want to get across is that the integration of umpire appointment data into leagues, alongside fixtures, is no obstacle for the future.

You can read more about this here:

3             Electronic match sheets

In ice hockey in England, most matches are scored using an electronic match sheet (EMS) provided by FixturesLive. This system has been used for nearly two seasons, and all involved are very happy with it (more here: The players are all recorded, the goals of course, as are ice hockey’s various stats, plus the team and match officials – all participants being registered in a single national database, which we also provide for the governing body.

Recording matches in this way provides a wealth of information about what happened and who participated – the penalties issued are used by their disciplinary people, for example. In domestic UK field hockey we only record, digitally, the score and, sometimes, the scorers. Only very occasionally are player appearances, cards and other match data entered into our system. So there is no way of knowing when a player passes a milestone of, say, 100 league appearances. Players with long careers, like Tina Cullen ( will have, at best, an incomplete record to look back on when they retire – and Tina’s online record is only seemingly full because she scores a lot of goals.

The Netherlands (I’m referring to field hockey from now on) is rolling out a similar electronic match sheet system for their leagues (which use a central national system called the StandenMotor – more here), France are doing the same, and EHF use an EMS for European tournaments.

Most UK leagues require a paper match sheet to be completed for each match, and this is an administrative burden for all involved – especially the league, who have numerous checks to perform (including issuing related fines and points deductions from time to time, for late submission etc.). Electronic match sheets ensure that data is loaded correctly – only loading eligible players for example. Match data can also be uploaded automatically during a match, should there be someone to do this, and even tweeted automatically. The EMS is clearly the way forward for our sport – the technology has, mostly, already been built.

We expect electronic match sheets to be introduced in the UK within the next year or so, and hopefully made available to all leagues within a season or two. Where adopted it would supersede our existing SMS results system (used by nearly all UK hockey leagues, but which, obviously, only collects scores). There are some questions as to how this might be implemented in the detail, given that leagues collect slightly different data on their forms, but we’re hopeful this can be worked out as we go forward.

In short, we believe that the electronic match sheet is one of the keys to our sport’s digital future, and all leagues should be aware of this. It is a significant opportunity to reduce administration and, at the same time, increase everyone’s engagement.

If you have any questions on this, please contact us.

4            Player registration

Player registration, in the future, will sit hand in hand with the electronic match sheet. FixturesLive currently provides registration systems for the national leagues of England, two regional leagues, and a number of county leagues (as well as other sports including two governing bodies).

At present, each registration ‘regime’ is a ‘data silo’ within our system e.g. a regional league cannot look up to the national league, nor down to a county nor elsewhere. This means that players become duplicated over time, because, obviously, players change teams and clubs. We are currently considering whether we should create a national (or indeed sport-wide) player registration system, to help leagues to see who is registered where. This idea of a ‘player passport’ would assign a single, confirmed identity to a player, and help both leagues and clubs. Clubs currently add players into our system (English clubs store over 80,000 current members within FixturesLive) without knowing whether they are creating duplicates – often they are. We would be able to flag members as a ‘passport holder’, to improve clarity.

Once we have electronic game sheets in use, it will also be possible for leagues to easily see who actually played in a match – not just who is eligible to play.

Privacy is the obvious issue. At present, our system does not allow a league to see the contact details of players (with the exception of England’s national leagues, where players consent), but it can see players’ dates of birth and photos, as these are relevant to eligibility. Whatever we do for the future will, obviously, need to protect personal data. But, for example, if a player is registered to your league, we believe your administrators should be able to see (securely, not publicly) all of that player’s registration status and history, across all leagues.

In the very long term, we can envisage a pre-match ‘check-in’ process whereby players are identified by photo, before a match starts, from the team’s eligible players (as loaded into the electronic match sheet from the player registration system). This may sound fanciful, and may only apply to higher-quality leagues, but would help to eliminate the user of ‘ringers’, which continues to be a problem in some leagues, and can’t easily be detected at present. Such a check-in process would also deter anyone from playing if currently suspended for disciplinary reasons.

We would like to invite comments of the future of player registration; any league wanting to start using our current system should contact me – it is the basis of all future changes.

5             Data rights and accuracy

We want to cover this issue, as it is misunderstood by some, and abused by others.

The law around copyright/database rights only protects the creator of a database and its content where there is a very significant element of originality or effort.

On the basis of recent legal advice, this protection would not extend to a league, where its administrator is simply arranging known clubs/teams (who have their data rights too) within a standard structure: match dates and fixtures. There is some effort involved of course (though fixtures can be automatically generated), but no originality to speak of. The absence of legal protection for leagues is a pity in many respects.

Many clubs publish, on their web sites, their fixtures (from different leagues, cups and friendlies), along with scorers and other fixture-related data, naturally using league, county and governing body data as the source. On the basis of the advice we have received, clubs are not in breach of the law.

But it is always a shame to see inaccurate fixture data on the web, and worse to see incomplete league tables. One company, which provides clubs with free web sites, allows ‘unofficial’ league tables to be maintained by clubs, without any involvement from the league. These tables are often incomplete and inaccurate, and the company has declined to take content automatically from FixturesLive. This is unfortunate, and we’re aware of one league who have asked clubs to remove league data if using that company’s system.

Is it more important for the league to have firm control of the data, or for clubs to have freedom to do what they want? Our view is that if the data is correct, complete, and updated as soon as possible, then it shouldn’t matter who publishes it, nor where people view it.

We believe FixturesLive has the best system for holding fixture data and keeping everyone updated, including feeding ‘official’ league data into web sites, as it is under the control of the league administrator.

6             Mobile app

On a busy Saturday afternoon/early evening, up to 80% of traffic to is from mobile and tablet users.

We are currently building a hockey-only mobile app. It will, initially, be very similar to the current mobile version of our site ( – a simplified version of our desktop site – but will include some extra features such as automated result alerts. If successful, we will extend the app over time to include more content.

The point of mentioning this to you as a league administrator is that FixturesLive is keen to continue innovating and investing to meet what the sport wants.

7             Web sites

Around 60% of all FixturesLive content is viewed not on, but in league, club and governing body web sites. It is absolutely right that the hockey community can view its data where it wants to.

It’s fair to say that FixturesLive does not specialise in providing web sites, and we want to concentrate on what we do best. Those league web sites that we do host will be replaced with WordPress sites eventually, using new FixturesLive ‘plug-ins’ which will allow more control over the placement and design of content.

We will be offering this to all leagues once we’re ready.

8             League-club communications

The quality of communications between leagues and clubs often seems to be poor, where communications pass through a single club contact, the League Rep, who doesn’t always relay league messages as and when they should.

We have recently added the option for leagues to download captains’ current email addresses, and we plan to add a feature whereby leagues can define specific contacts they need in each club, which the clubs maintain online thereafter. This would be similar to the existing system whereby national governing bodies define the club contacts they needs in each club, for affiliation and communication purposes.

This approach would give leagues much more flexibility in communicating with relevant club members.

We also see a few leagues using Twitter to get messages out, and we will provide the means for leagues to embed their Twitter identity into FixturesLive (as we’ve recently done for clubs and players) should this become commonplace.

We would like to hear from leagues how we can assist in this whole area.

In summary

The digital future of our sport in the UK looks positive – we are ahead of most sports, but behind others who don’t have our fragmentation. FixturesLive wants to continue to play a key role in supporting everyone who runs and participates in the sport at every level. We want to continue stitching together overlapping data wherever possible, and we want to innovate where we can, for everyone’s benefit. If you have new ideas too, let us know.

For leagues currently using FixturesLive: thank you for your continuing support; please consider what else we can do for you.

For leagues not currently using FixturesLive: we hope this letter helps to show what we think, and what the future is likely to hold. We want you to join us, as we are convinced that we offer the best way forward for the sport, given the many complex issues. We are happy to meet you if it would help.

Further announcements will be made via Twitter (@FixLiveHockey), so please follow, and also on, which you can also follow directly too.


DLW signature small

David Lloyd-Williams

We’ve upgraded our engine, a bit

Invisible to nearly all our users is our Competition Administrator area. Used by hundreds of league administrators on a weekly basis, this is the engine that powers the FixturesLive system – and we’ve just upgraded it.

Keeping our software up to date is an ongoing challenge, and there is always more to do. This latest upgrade provides a much clearer design and layout, and includes more information (such has how the speed of entering results compares with similar leagues).

It’ll remain in ‘public beta’ for some time, but so far the feedback has been very positive.

So we thought we’d let you have a peek.

Below are a few screen grabs – if you want to run a league yourself you can find out how to get started here…




Umpire appointments and FixturesLive – integration is coming!

Across the UK, the vast majority of leagues and umpire associations (HUAs) are supported by just two systems: FixturesLive, and Tex Solutions.

FixturesLive covers most leagues; Tex covers nearly all HUAs, plus a small number of leagues.

The pair of us sat down last year and agreed to work together. We both want to see a better digital world for our sport (and happen to be regular umpires too; Tex being a national league umpire and umpire manager at EHF events; I’m avoiding L2 to stay as a club umpire!).

Our two systems have in fact been integrated, but only for the English national leagues, for some years. Umpire appointments made by the National Programme Umpires Association (NPUA) use FixturesLive as the ‘master’ dataset for fixtures, which is of course managed day to day by England Hockey (EH). This has prevented much confusion over the years, and credit is due to EH, who pushed us to sort it out.

It’s fair to say that the idea of further integration, for other nations, regional and county leagues, just got lost in the general mishmash of work, and we might well have joined up the dots more quickly.

But it’s also true to say that integrating umpire appointments and fixtures is a complete nightmare – sorry – an interesting challenge.

One of the joys of working with the UK hockey scene is the extraordinary overlapping patchwork of regions, counties, leagues, clubs and HUAs, all controlled by different people. But who is responsible for appointing whom to what? What happens when fixtures are changed or deleted? Having two systems (or more) isn’t helping the hockey community. And if the HUAs have the best information on umpire appointments, how does that relate to the work being done by governing bodies to improve umpire records (who is an “active” umpire), and so on.

Is there a case for a singing and dancing national or GB umpires’ appointments system? Well, perhaps, but that also presumes a singing and dancing system for everything else – so, in short: it’s complicated.

So, Tex and us want to get over a simple message: we will integrate the data where we can, and no league or HUA should make decisions on the basis that this integration isn’t possible

OK – what can we do now?

Well, bear in mind that the integration is typically 2-way:

– Tex’s system (master for appointments) reading from FixturesLive (master for fixtures), to handle fixture data
– FixturesLive’s system reading from Tex’s, to handle appointments

If you’ve got that, here’s the plan so far:

– We are working on (with EH’s support) the display of NPUA appointments in the EH web site before the end of this season.
– FixturesLive will work on how this data can be stored and displayed in the main FixturesLive system (which is complicated because we have a pre-existing system, used by some basketball leagues)
– Tex and FixturesLive are talking to various partners about how we implement his approach for the future

There are quite complex changes required to both systems to make this work, and it may require, for many HUAs, the replacement of their systems – Tex can explain this better than I can.

I’m aware that there are some leagues that don’t use FixturesLive, with its many benefits, because they want to keep their umpire appointments systems intact.

So I hope you can see what we’re hoping to get done. It will take time – probably a few seasons.

The appointment of club umpires is currently possible via the FixturesLive system, but it seems clubs aren’t that interested (sigh).

But, in summary: integration is coming!