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.”



  • Anita kick up the Hoop

    Shocking .. another chip away from our traditional game … we play a long hard season in England .. Christmas fixtures are a huge part of our game and should be left alone! What are the bets that once we have the break our top clubs will jet off to play exhibitions all over the world?

    • GeordieZebra

      It says Christmas won’t be touched.

      • Anita kick up the Hoop

        So if it starts in the new year what’s the point ?

        • GeordieZebra

          Point is fairly obvious. They get a few weeks off likely in January, so get the rest which they’re trying to achieve.

          • Anita kick up the Hoop

            The Rest??.. you either train hard or play … they have the best conditions ever in sport and need rest? Why then if rest is so important Do they jump on planes and fly around the world playing exhibition games during the summer and no doubt during the winter break if it comes in!

          • GeordieZebra

            Didn’t say I agree with it. You said Christmas fixtures should be left alone and I said they were intending to be.

    • Coble’s Return

      Absolutely – it never fails to amaze me just how much the clubs with the biggest squads bleat on about fixture congestion and fatigue and yet every one of them goes into the season on the back of a Far East tour aimed entirely at selling shirts TV rights – no wonder they are angling for a bigger chunk of the international contracts.

    • Jezza

      Excellent comment. Just when you thought there was nothing left for the blood sucking parasites to take away from the game I knew and loved back in the 70’s and 80’s they come up with this.

  • Paul Patterson

    They haven’t thought this through. I’m assuming the issue is players getting tired (bless ’em) but you’ve still got to fit those affected fixtures in somewhere.
    And it doesn’t help fans either, with fans still having to travel to fixtures sometime.
    The only way around it is extending the season. Managers will STILL moan – just watch.

  • toonterrier

    They only play on average twice a week and the poor lambs need a break. Who’s going to decide when to have a break probably the BBC weather forecasters as they never get it wrong. Another stupid idea so the overpaid plonkers can spend more time in the sun and come home half a stone heavier. Maybe the Premier league should move to Australia in the winter to make even more money then we could watch the games on the box for £50 a game. More money for the rich gits. Sure fatty would vote for it.

  • Down Under Mag

    The fact that players are being paid 300k+ a week….A WEEK!!! and complain about actually have to do their job….insane world. They want less games and more money.

    • Leazes.

      In Europe the football stops for a break because it gets really cold and creates a lot of problems with transport, training and matchday logistics, you don’t get this in Australia.

      We are already saddled with four or five international breaks which congest the remaining fixtures into largely the same time scale, Its all for TV now, and advertisers. The fans are no more than a backdrop to the TV audience.

      • Paul Patterson

        Get rid of a couple of international windows, that’ll sort it out.
        Season kicks off- International friendly.
        Premier League restarts- International break.

        • Leazes.

          yup

    • Jezza

      Yes these barstewards who are young and in their prime get paid more in a week than the average fan in his 50’s or 60’s who grafts his balls off in a factory will see in a decade or more and they still can’t do 90 minutes work a week without a break after three months. It is sickening beyond belief.

  • Coble’s Return

    What’s the betting that the EPL clubs will opt to drop out of the EFL Cup in order to utilise those midweek slots to fulfil the Premier League fixtures. Anything to further shaft the clubs outside the top tier. (Not that we have had much fixture congestion arising from our EFL Cup involvement of late).

    • Leazes.

      Most Premier league clubs have already opted out of the cup, they play squad players and try to get knocked out as Ashley has done since his arrival.

      One key injury to a first team player and the season can be over for a club and it just isn’t worth it until the final stages.

      Personally I would ditch the FLcup for premiership clubs.

      • Coble’s Return

        So why not ditch cup competitions altogether? The same surely applies to the FA Cup, however much some of would like to think otherwise.

        We know that for many lower league clubs, a fixture against a decent sized Premier League club can change a season, especially if it is televised – and that is regardless of whether the EPL club sticks out a strong team, or a mismatch of bairns and squad players. EPL pulls out altogether, interest wanes, TV revenue goes down and once again, the big clubs monopolise the cash flowing through the game. More importantly, a fixture against a big club is a huge deal for the fans of these clubs – when did Newport County last fill their ground before Spurs arrived. Sorry, there is only so much greed I can stomach.

        • Leazes.

          Some things are worth aiming for such as European qualification and the title and maybe the FA cup

          … but as a cherry on the cake to a good season not the replacement tin pot for a failing club, look at the way cups are perceived by top four fans.

          The FL Cup is unwanted, unloved, and largely a sponsors named showpiece existing only for advertising, it is the most commercial and valueless competition…. leave it to the FL clubs so that one of them can win something.

          I bet you have to look it up to see what its called this season.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    A Winter break what for. We still have to play the same number of games in the same time period so will just be shifting games from say December January to April/May madness. It works well how it is. Any teams having cup runs have extra games at the end of the season so they might up end up playing Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday Saturday. They have not thought this through at all be even worse for Championship teams if it comes in there.

  • TOOOOOOON

    give them a fotneet of for xmas like the rest of us.

  • Proppaboots

    Some of our lot have had a break since last season…………

  • David S

    The players at the top (and a full division or more down) and their managers get paid such ridiculous amounts of money, they do not have have even the beginnings of a fraction of a claim on a winter break. It’s the same for everyone. Just get on with it … maintain the pace and the drama of the season … and stfu!

    • Dillon Tovak

      I agree pretty much. Lots of players, excluding internationals every other year, get a nice summer break.
      It may help the England team, but I couldn’t care less about about that.