Premier League open to winter break which could even be included in next TV deal

Premier League clubs could see a two-week winter break introduced by January 2020.

But to get the green light FA Cup replays would need to be scrapped and also clubs to undertake agreements not to play lucrative mid-season friendlies.

There are serious discussions taking place between Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore and his FA counterpart Martin Glenn and the Football League’s Shaun Harvey.

It is likely to be welcomed by Premier League bosses and also England manager Gareth Southgate, although he has expressed mixed views as to whether it would make a difference.

They have made it clear in discussions that it will not disrupt English football’s unique festive programme with games played at Christmas and New Year.

The new Premier League football coverage deal could change things (Image: SkySports)

The break would also come after the FA Cup third round which is traditionally on the first weekend of January.

The idea was floated in the latest round of negotiations over the next TV deal which comes into play in the 2019/20 season.

But it would also require the FA to look at their TV deal for the FA Cup to see whether they can remove replays which are also a lifeblood for some lower division clubs and that may face serious opposition.

The final issue would be writing into any agreement stopping clubs playing lucrative overseas friendlies and, while clubs would be allowed to go on warm weather overseas training camps, playing games would be seen as defeating the object.

Jose Mourinho doesn’t believe English will ever dominate Europe – until one thing happens (Image: AFP)

While the talks have been described as “constructive”, it still needs agreement from all sides before a winter break could come into effect.

The Premier League yesterday issued a statement which read: “The Premier League has been in discussions with the FA and EFL for several months regarding the challenges of the increasingly congested English football calendar and ways in which we can work together to ease fixture congestion while also giving players a mid-season break.

“Provided space can be found in the calendar, we are open to this in principle and will continue constructive discussions with our football stakeholders to seek a workable solution.”

Winter break: what does it all mean

Mid-season breaks are common in Europe’s other major leagues but the festive period is typically the busiest time of year for English teams.

Here, we take a look at when several European leagues had their breaks during the 2017-18 campaign.

LaLiga

Teams in the league: 20

Games per season: 38

Dates of break (including cup games): December 23-January 3

Days between league matches: 14

Spain had one of the shorter breaks this season, with just 11 days between the final game of the LaLiga season on December 23 and the last 16 of the Copa del Rey getting under way on January 3. LaLiga resumed three days later.

Bundesliga

Teams in the league: 18

Games per season: 34

Dates of break (including cup games): December 20-January 12

Days between league matches: 25

There were 22 days between the DFB Cup last-16 matches on December 20 and the resumption of the Bundesliga season but the break in Germany has been even longer in previous years – running from December 21 to January 20 last season.

Serie A

Teams in the league: 20

Games per season: 38

Dates of break (including cup games): January 6-January 21

Days between league matches: 15

Italy’s top-flight teams had their winter break after a busy festive schedule, which included games on December 23 and full programmes on the following two weekends.

Ligue 1

Teams in the league: 20

Games per season: 38

Dates of break (including cup games): December 20-January 6

Days between league matches: 22

French sides had 16 days off between their final league games of 2017 and their cup games on January 6.

 

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