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Last Updated: Monday, 16 January 2006, 18:13 GMT
Brooking doubts winter break
Trevor Brooking
Brooking is a former manager and director of Premiership side West Ham
The Football Association's Director of Football development, Trevor Brooking, has told the BBC a winter break in the Premiership is highly unlikely.

Despite repeated calls from major figures in the English game - including England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson - the Premiership, unlike France's Championnat, Spain's La Liga or Italy's Serie A, does not go on hold in December.

And the recent this year saw a number of managers complaining about the number of games over the holiday period, which for many clubs totalled four matches in eight days.

But Brooking said that to have a "little flurry of matches over the holiday period" is the only way of keeping the current number of clubs in the league - and that since clubs will never agree to a reduction in the number of Premiership sides, a winter break is highly unlikely.

"You don't want to miss out," he told BBC World Service's World Football programme.

"The fact is, something does have to give, and at present, primarily, it's the risk of player tiredness and injury that has to give.

"I don't think clubs want to go below that 20 figure - and of course the structure of it is that they would be the ones to decide on that."

Big decision

In 2004, the FA promised to look at the issue of a winter break in the season preceding the 2006 World Cup.

In the end, however, they opted to grant a spring break instead, which forced the fixture list congestion in December.

Nicolas Anelka
Anelka has played in France, England, Spain and now Turkey
"The debate comes up at different times," Brooking said.

"You've got the World Cup, and the end-of-season break this time round, which was substituted for the discussion of the winter break.

"If you look at all the statistics, quite often you'll find the highest attendances are during that three or four game period during the holidays.

"So from a revenue point of view that's a big decision."

Brooking said that having been a director of West Ham United, he could understand why clubs wanted the number of Premiership sides to remain at 20.

But he also agreed that on occasion, a break may be beneficial to players.

In particular, he said a number of bigger international sides had underperformed at the last two major tournaments - Euro 2004 and the 2002 World Cup - and many managers had blamed this on their players being tired from a draining season.

Nicolas Anelka, the Fenerbache striker who has played in France and Spain as well as England and experienced both sides of the debate, said he felt a spring break was the best solution.

"When you play for the national team and you have a lot of games in the summer, it's better to have a break before," he said.

"You can get injured before a big tournament, so I think that's better.

"But it's also better to continue to play, because in the summer, if you don't have international games, you game more break - you have maybe two months.

"Both ways are good, but in England, Boxing Day is very important. In Europe, in Spain and France and Italy, they are used to having a break every year. I don't think they will change it."

Smith in favour of winter break
13 Jun 05 |  Internationals
FA targets winter break
04 Jul 04 |  England


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