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Thursday, 8 August, 2002, 10:19 GMT 11:19 UK
FA considers winter break
FA chief executive Adam Crozier and England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson
Crozier (right) is keen to back Eriksson's call
Football Association chief executive Adam Crozier has called a summit meeting to discuss a winter break during the Premiership season.

Crozier is hoping the meeting, planned for September, will provide the backing for England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson's call for a break.


While we were in Japan, Sven and I spoke about the subject a lot
Adam Crozier

Crozier said: "We have agreed to set up a meeting for some time in September between the FA, the Premier League and six to eight top managers to talk about how we might make it work and its implications."

If the idea of a break wins approval, it could be introduced next season, although Eriksson may have to wait to get his wish for a smaller Premiership.

Crozier told The Sun newspaper: "While we were in Japan, Sven and I spoke about the subject a lot, and David Richards, the chairman of the Premier League, was there with us.

"We came to the same conclusion that the first thing we should go for was the winter break.

"We agreed to treat the two issues separately and to go for the winter break as the starting point."

The introduction of a mid-winter break would provide a radical shake-up to the shape of the English season.


It's time to freshen up our players in mid-season
Adam Crozier

Crozier explained: "Talking to football people, most thought the best way to do it was to start the season earlier, finish later and have a maximum break of three weeks in the middle.

"Any longer and the players would have to restart with a form of pre-season training.

"The feeling is the beginning of January is the best time for a break.

"Clearly there's no point creating a winter break if the clubs then fill it with friendly fixtures, so the FA would not allow any games to be played for that period."

Crozier is convinced a mid-winter break will not only help the England team, but also assist English clubs in the latter stages of the Champions League and Uefa Cup.

He said: "This is not a club-versus-country argument. It's in everybody's interests.


We can't see practically how you would have one (a mid-winter break)
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore

"How often have we seen our players look like world-beaters with their clubs in the first stages of European competition, then suffer come March and April, because other countries' players are fresher?

"Our very best are overworked. Sven says if we want to win the Euro club competitions and do well internationally, it's time to freshen up our players in mid-season."

But Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore provided a note of caution on the subject, especially with the Worthington Cup rounds taking place during December and January.

"We would like to have a winter break," said Scudamore. "But we can't see practically how you would have one because of all the conflicting circumstances.

"There is no stomach among the Premier League clubs for a reduction in their numbers and a two-thirds majority is needed for such a change.

"We do not wish to sacrifice participation in the Worthington Cup at a time when the Football League clubs depend on it so heavily for revenue.

"The FA also do not seem willing to reduce the rounds or the replays in the FA Cup and the international calendar is fixed by Fifa.

"The only other options would then be making the season longer or starting it even earlier.

"So we do not see the practicality even though many experts say it would be required."

 VOTE RESULTS
Is the winter break a good idea?

Yes
 75.74% 

No
 24.26% 

8537 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

English Premiership news
Latest top-flight news

See also:

08 Aug 02 | Leeds United
08 Aug 02 | Man Utd
08 Aug 02 | Tottenham Hotspur
Links to more Football stories are at the foot of the page.


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