A winter break could be at last set to arrive in English football.
BBC Sport have revealed that a winter break is referenced in the tender documents sent out to broadcasters competing for the UK TV rights for Premier League football.
Those winners of the UK TV rights are expected to be announced next week.
The new TV contracts cover three years starting with the 2019/20 season and that is the earliest point at which a winter break could be included.
The BBC report that talks have now been going on for several months and that they are moving forward constructively with the idea.
On the continent, a winter break already happens in every other major European League, with fans and players in Germany, France, Italy and Spain all having that time out in their football year.
Ironically, the biggest issue that always comes up every season and is endlessly talked and complained about, will remain.
The congested festive programme (Newcastle played four times between 23 December and 1 January this season) won’t be touched and instead any winter break would be planned for January.
Unless there are less matches in the future, the only two practical ways of including a winter break would appear to be extending the season beyond the usual May ending and/or including more midweek fixtures (not exactly ideal for travelling Newcastle fans or indeed those with season tickets at St James Park who live away).
With the third and fourth rounds of the FA Cup falling within January, it would surely be a pretty good guess to think that the top domestic cup competition will be further downgraded in some way, if the winter break becomes reality.
Premier League Official Statement:
“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.”