Former England coach Roy Hodgson has previously called for a winter break now believes that the scrapping of FA Cup quarter-final replays could be the first step to a Premier League winter break.
Just recently the FA saw sense and approved the move to ease
the congested fixture list.
This will really help as a lot of top teams were playing games once every 4 days from January through to close of season.
“I think it’s all designed eventually to maybe providing that elusive winter break” Hodgson said.
Rather interestingly a total of 37 European countries actually have winter breaks. A further 11 countries have structured their leagues to run from March to November avoiding the winter.
The only countries that play over the Christmas period or have no break at all are England, Israel, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Richard Scudamore’s concern is that whilst these festive games are a great tradition, when would the games be rescheduled to?
The main concern is when the players represent England at European and World level. Hodgson is hoping the break would be able to help with freshening minds up.
The top divisions in France, Italy, Spain and Germany have winter breaks, so why can’t we?
Michel Platini famously said English players were ‘lions in the winter and lambs in the summer’.
That could well be the result of players running themselves into the mud through winter. The basic argument is that the mental and physical fatigue of playing so many games means exhaustion will come into play, which in turn increases the likelihood of injury.
Sam Allardyce added “There’s also a lot of research that shows European teams have less injuries after that break than we do, we continue to have a lot of injuries.”
By contrast, Arsene Wenger said earlier this season: “I would cry if you changed that because it’s part of English tradition and English football. It’s a very important part of us being popular in the world, that nobody works at Christmas and everybody watches the Premier League”.
The new winter break does not have to affect the rest of the Football League.
January could be Football league games only. We could all get our football fix from that. This would be great for the teams lower down the leagues due to the additional media attention.
The transfer window would tie in with it nicely. Allowing all transactions to happen before the kick off of the 2nd stage to the tournament.
There would be nothing wrong in the clubs going off on sunshine breaks to conduct warm weather training. As long as the break is not used to play some kind of 39th game in Dubai.
You do have to question if the League Cup should remain that. The Cup for those who play in the football league. This would save a few games each year..