Premier League footballers to get two-week mid-season break

Five matches will be played one weekend with the second batch of five the following weekend

Five matches will be played one weekend with the second batch of five the following weekend

In European leagues of corresponding stature, the winter hiatus is much more lengthy than just one weekend off.

As such, there was a mix of delight and the inevitable annoyance when the FA announced that it would introduce a similar break to the Premier League, with chief executive Martin Glenn confirming that it would come into effect during the 2019/20 season.

All three divisions of the English Football League (EFL) will remain unchanged, with a full programme of fixtures taking place on each of the weekends where there is a break.

To help create space in the calendar the Football Association will move the FA Cup fifth round to midweek and there will be no replays.

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

It will be structured so that there are still Premier League matches over every weekend - there will be five one weekend and five the following weekend with all the matches broadcast live in the United Kingdom - but every club will have guaranteed time off.

"It has been useful to have these positive discussions over the last few months and, as part of the conversations, we have been able to ensure that our requirements could be incorporated within any changes", said Shaun Harvey, chief executive of the EFL. We hope it will provide the appropriate recovery time for players and have the positive impact on player and team performance that it is created to deliver.

In a statement, EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said he supported the creation of a mid-season break for the top flight but "it is now 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.

There are now no plans for the EFL to follow suit and a similar rest period for Championship, League One and League Two players is not on the agenda.

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