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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 January 2008, 22:53 GMT
Allardyce pleads for winter break
Sam Allardyce barks orders at the Britannia Stadium
Allardyce must prepare for a replay against Stoke on 16 January
Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce believes the Premier League is putting players' long-term welfare at risk by refusing to grant a winter break.

The Magpies were held to a 0-0 FA Cup third-round draw against Stoke on Sunday, their fifth game since the start of the Christmas period.

"It is a ludicrous situation," he said. It is an over-demand on high-performing athletes. That is very dangerous.

"You would not ask a racehorse to do what we do."

Newcastle have six days to rest before their match against Premier League champions Manchester United at Old Trafford.

But Allardyce must now also factor in a third-round FA Cup replay at St James' Park on 16 January.

I am sure it would be good for the national team when they go to a big tournament and for the clubs playing in Europe

Sven-Goran Eriksson on a winter break

And the under-fire manager believes the ever-expanding fixture schedules will eventually have a detrimental effect on players' post-career health.

"Somewhere along the line - if not causing a serious injury because of fatigue - later on in life, professional players will have massive problems with hip, knee and ankle replacements and be crippled with arthritis," he said.

"It is too much to ask of players over the Christmas period. It would be nice to reach this point and have a two-week break, as we should do.

"The new lads here think it is crazy that everyone else has a break and we don't.

"If they think we are crazy, then something must be wrong."


A BBC Sport survey conducted in November found senior Premier League players in favour of a winter break.

England, Portugal and Scotland are the only major leagues in Europe without a mid-season break.

Former England manager now Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson is another advocate of a festive hiatus.

"I am sure it would be good for the national team when they go to a big tournament and for the clubs playing in Europe," said the Swede.

"They would be fresher at the end of the season."

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