Premier League 'open' to idea of winter break

Manchester United Bournemouth

The Premier League could soon fall into line with the rest of Europe by introducing a winter break in the near future, an exclusive in The Times claims.

The current TV broadcast deal is due to expire at the end of the 2018/19 campaign, and it is believed that the renewal of these rights would be the flawless opportunity to greenlight an inaugural winter break in English football.

Those winners of the UK TV rights are expected to be announced next week.

To further trim the schedule, the FA may be prepared to trim one round of replays from the historic competition, though are not minded to make it a mid-week competition as the Premier League and EFL have proposed.

This has been discussed at length in the past - Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore told Sky Sports News two years ago that talks with the FA were ongoing, after then-England manager Sam Allardyce called publicly for a winter break.

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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.

Spain, France, Germany and Italy all now operate with the winter break system, with the Bundesliga taking the longest period of time away from the field at 22 days.

It is believed that any such break would occur in January and it wouldn't involve losing the sacred Boxing Day fixtures.

Speaking in November, he said: "I always say the Champions League only starts in February, and in February, the English teams are after December and January where we can play 20 matches over two months and the Germans, the French, the Spanish, the Italians, they all come from a winter 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".

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