Belfast Telegraph

FA and Premier League finally agree to take a winter break

By Staff Reporter

The Football Association has announced a deal with the Premier League to introduce a mid-season break in February from the 2019-20 season onward.

After years of deadlock on the issue, the FA and the league have finally found a compromise that should give players more rest without upsetting broadcasters and sponsors too much.

To make room for the two-week break, the FA Cup's fifth-round ties will be played midweek and will be settled on the night, while a round of Premier League fixtures will be played over two weekends, with five games one weekend and five the next.

The break will only apply to the Premier League, though, with a full English Football League programme continuing over the break.

In a statement, EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said he supported the creation of a break for the top flight but "it is currently impractical even if it was desirable for the EFL" to do likewise because of the scheduling challenges of playing 46-game seasons and play-offs.

While some may be disappointed about the loss of replays in the FA Cup's fifth round, the fact the FA and Premier League have managed to find an answer to one of English football's oldest debates is likely to be welcomed in general.

Belfast Telegraph

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