The Football Association have approved a winter break for all Premier League clubs, that will commence in the 2019/20 season. The break is scheduled to take place in February, with matches staggered across a two week period.
A proposed mid-season break has been one of English football’s most contentious subjects over the last few years, and it appears that the FA are finally willing to combat the concerns of numerous players and managers.
Many of Europe’s top leagues currently enforce a winter break, with Spain, Germany, France, and Italy all allowing clubs to have time off in December and January. For many English clubs, the festive period represents a gruelling schedule, with some teams forced to play six or seven games in under three weeks. Man City manager Pep Guardiola once claimed that the winter schedule was “killing” his players, with rival Jose Mourinho suggesting a direct link between a winter break and a clubs progress in the Champions League.
A recent survey by Fifpro concluded that almost 90% of players questioned favoured a winter break, with the average participant suggesting a period of two weeks. Another survey found that almost half of the footballers who play for their national team and feature in 50 or more matches a season, feel they have played too many games.
The FA have described the new mid-season break as “a significant moment for English football” that “will greatly benefit club and country”.
The current plan is too split a Premier League match day across a two week period, with five fixtures on the first weekend of the fortnight, and five on the second weekend.
FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: “It’s no secret that we have a very congested fixture calendar and over recent years we have been working with the whole game to find a solution.
“Today’s announcement proves that football can come together for the good of the game. We have also found a way to give the players a much needed mid-season break, whilst keeping the much-loved Christmas schedule in place.
“As we head into summer international tournaments in the future we are sure that this mid-season break will prove to be a valuable addition for our players.”