Winter break in England: Premier League, FA & EFL discuss February break

Old Trafford
The Premier League has never had a scheduled winter break

Talks to introduce a winter break from February 2020 are continuing between The Football Association, English Football League and Premier League.

The first annual two-week interval would be scheduled from the 2019-20 season and take place in the early part of the month, it has been proposed.

As a consequence, the fifth round of the FA Cup would take place in midweek and there would be no replays.

Premier League clubs would have at least 13 days without a match.

The break would be staggered, with five Premier League matches taking place on one weekend and five on another.

Winter breaks are already factored into schedules of the top leagues in Germany, France, Italy and Spain. However, they all take place between December and January, which is the busiest period for Premier League teams.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said in January that the festive schedule was "killing" the players. Earlier in the season, his Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho said the lack of a break was hampering English clubs' hopes in the Champions League.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger once said he would "cry" if a winter break was introduced, even though his side played six games in 19 days during the last festive schedule.

Concern for smaller clubs

Newport County manager Michael Flynn, whose side earned a lucrative FA Cup replay at Tottenham this season, is wary of the impact removing fifth-round replays could have on smaller teams.

"With the FA Cup games being played midweek and with no replays it's going to hit the smaller clubs a little bit harder," said Flynn. "If we couldn't have had that replay at Wembley, then it takes a lot of the romance out of football.

"For our players, there's a lot of them who would never have got the chance to play at Wembley. It's a great occasion and they might not do that again."

The League Two club are expecting to earn around £900,000 from their cup run.

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