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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 January, 2004, 11:15 GMT
Wenger predicts winter break
Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes a winter break in the Premiership will be in place by next season.

Most other European nations already have a mid-season break and a winter rest would have the undoubted backing of England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

"I think that is what we are going towards - and I think we'll have a winter break next year," Wenger said.

"I feel Sven is completely determined to get a winter break, which I can understand as it is linked to success for the national team at tournaments."

Premiership clubs have been opposed to the move in the past because of a fear of lost revenue.

But Nationwide League clubs would almost certainly back a Premiership break, feeling they would benefit from extra exposure during that time.

The expectation level is higher now in England
Arsene Wenger

Eriksson has been a fierce advocate of the change and first suggested a break after the 2002 World Cup, where a number of players looked jaded after a long and punishing domestic season.

"The expectation level is higher now in England," Wenger said.

He added: "They've won in rugby and people are saying, why can't we do it in football?"

Premiership managers would need to support the move at a Premier League technical meeting, with any proposal then going to the clubs for approval.

The most likely option would be for a three-week break in January, with Wenger insisting a Christmas holiday would not be supported.

"I think we can find an agreement between a respect for tradition and introducing a break somewhere," Wenger said.

He added: "But even for those who are promoting it, it would be a mistake to have it over Christmas."

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