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Friday, 12 July, 2002, 07:49 GMT 08:49 UK
Time for fixture shake-up?
Plans to introduce a winter break for Premier League players could be in place by 2003-04.

Are you a fan of the plan?

HAVE YOUR SAY

Plans to introduce a winter break will be considered by club bosses later this month.

Arsenal and Football Association vice-chairman David Dein has drawn up proposals for a three-week break, starting after the traditional New Year's Day fixtures.

With many international players showing visible signs of fatigue at the recent World Cup the move looks set to receive widespread support.

There are also hopes that the break will boost attendances at Football League clubs, although there are implications for the length of the season.

Who would you watch while your team take a break?


This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appear below.


A break wouldn't reduce the number of games; it would just lengthen the season at each end. Experience from Scotland shows that players still continue training and playing friendlies, which makes the situation worse.

Also, arguments about postponed fixtures don't really apply to the Premiership, as this rarely happens anyway. The best way to reduce player fatigue is cutting the number of league, League Cup and international friendly games.
Andrew, UK


Get them in for extra training, then they might be fit enough to play a whole season
Ron Bannell, Scotland

A winter break has been long overdue, but, as many other people have pointed out, it will only bring real benefit if coupled with a reduction of matches. The easiest way to do this would be to scrap the league cup or to do away with replays in the cup competitions, which means extra time and then penalties.

To compensate for the loss of revenue to the teams from the lower divisions, they should automatically be given a home game if drawn against a Premiership or First Division side. This system has been in practice in Germany since I been here, and definitely eliminates the build-up of fixtures due to cup replays.

It also allows the season to be better planned, thus allowing proper time to plan and play international games.
Bob Kelsey, Germany

Winter Break? Give me a break! These guys are supposed to be athletes at the peak of their careers. They're flat out for maybe two 90 minute periods a week and the rest of the time they're playing golf or racing horses. Get them in for extra training, then they might be fit enough to play a whole season.
Ron Bannell, Scotland

Not only is a winter break is necessary, but we must also ask ourselves whether the Premiership really needs 20 teams. Frankly, some of the teams don't deserve to play in the top flight. The FA should also consider eliminating the League Cup completely. It's a waste of time and players' energy, and big clubs don't even bother about it.
John, Canada


The Premiership needs to be reduced to 18 teams and a two week break in winter introduced
Mark, USA

A mid-season winter break of perhaps two weeks would be a good idea, but only if accompanied by a reduction in the number of games played in the season to compensate for the lost time.
Yahaya Musa Muhammad, Nigeria

It was evident that the England players ran out of gas in the World Cup. The Premiership needs to be reduced to 18 teams and a two week break in winter introduced. If the National side are to win tournaments this has to be done.
Mark, USA

Great idea, let's give all the premiership millionaires an extra three weeks holidays a year. There are plenty of amateur sportsmen and women who train hard and compete just as often, but still manage to hold down an ordinary job as well.

And cutting the premiership to 18 teams - wow, that would save them a whole 360 minutes of football a season - plenty of time to rest up!
Bruce Weggerly, UK

The Scottish Premier League decided to introduce a winter break a couple of years ago. As a result, the teams simply arranged a series of friendly matches over the period. The result was that teams played the same amount of matches as before.
Garry Clark, UK

The SPL didn't have a winter break this year due to the early start of the World Cup, but it was well received in 2000/2001. Most of the SPL clubs went to the sun to escape the cold and played a couple of games against some amateur sides.


If players want to play fewer games they should take a pay cut
Gary, England

It's unrealistic to suggest that clubs should let their players just have a break. They certainly need to maintain a high level of fitness and of course recuperate from any niggling injuries suffered in the first half of the season.
Martin Clarke, Scotland

Premiership players demand ludicrous amounts of money, and their clubs need to generate this money from somewhere, so they cram in as many games as possible to generate the gate receipts/television money needed to pay the wages. If players want to play fewer games they should take a pay cut.

And how long do you think it'll be before the clubs themselves start to see this "break" as the ideal time to slip of to the Far East on a money-spinning mini tour of three or four games?

Both clubs and players have to take a long hard look at themselves. As usual, the only people to suffer are the fans.
Gary, England

It's about time too! Many is the time I've been half-way to a ground to find the game's off. But it needs to be coupled with a reduction of the number of clubs in the premiership to 16. As a Boro fan, I know that would probably mean a perennial relegation battle, but it's really the only way to solve the fixture congestion problems that all the managers are talking about.
Robin, UK


I'd go and treat myself to some free flowing football from the mighty Iron (Scunthorpe Utd)!
Darren, England

I wouldn't go and support another team. I do think it's a good idea to have a break but there is one major drawback. If the break is at the start of January for three weeks as being suggested, what happens when later on in Jan, Feb or March the weather gets worse and games get cancelled, it will be back to playing more games during the week.
Martyn, UK

The season should start three weeks earlier. The players would get used to playing in warmer temperatures and benefit from a three week winter break. Most other European leagues do this. Players would be fitter for the summer tournaments.
Mark, UK/Germany

A winter break for the Premiership is a must. Consider the injury concerns for the England team prior to the World cup, the player in the best condition was Owen Hargreaves who plays in the German Bundesliga, who operate a winter break. Coincidence, I don't think so.
Simon Jarvis, England

I'd go and treat myself to some free flowing football from the mighty Iron (Scunthorpe Utd)!
Darren, England


The main benefit I see is the improvement in the state of the pitches
Joe, UK

Celtic and Rangers have a break every year and go half way around the world to play friendlies. It makes no sense!
Tony Boyler, Scotland

Winter break, what a great idea. Maybe during it the players can practice learning how to pass and keep possession of a football!
Alex Fletcher, England

In Scotland we've had a winter break in the SPL for the past couple of seasons; the main benefit I see is the improvement in the state of the pitches. After months of hard wear and tear, a couple of weeks break for the ground staff to give the pitches a bit of attention means the players are no less likely to be playing in potato fields for the rest of the season.

The players themselves do tend to come back a bit fresher, having been able to rest niggly injuries, but the benefits only tend to last a few weeks.
Joe, UK

A mid winter break would mean more time to spend with the wife while mulling over the teams latest defeat which will lead to higher than normal tension in the household. Add to this the in-laws coming round and you have all the ingredients for some serious frustration to occur so definitely no to a winter break!
Barry Nevin, England


I know you don't want to hear this but we need to take a leaf out of the German's book!
Dan, England

Break? What, for being paid 50,000 a week. You get people working seven days a week all year round with not even half that money a year. Today's players are acting like girls. If they can't cope then they're probably not good enough. Players in the '70s & '80s used to play 50 or 60 games a season without complaining.
Nelson, England

There may be an argument for the players having a break but how about just getting the players fit enough to keep playing or creating a stronger squad by switching players when they get too tired?

The players may have to play more games than ever but they have better equipment, facilities and fitness advice than ever so they should take advantage of this and show they can tackle their own job.
Christopher Swithinbank, Luxembourg

A mid-season winter break of perhaps two weeks would be a good idea, but only if accompanied by a reduction in the number of games played in the season to compensate for the lost time.
Michael Lyons, England

We need a winter break. Germany have a winter break and their national team is not great but they managed to get to the final of the World Cup.I know you don't want to hear this but we need to take a leaf out of the German's book!
Dan, England


Their earnings are sufficient to mean they are pampered as it is
Andrew Spencer, Spain

There is no logic to this plan if the overall number of games is not also reduced. The logical course of action would be to scrap the Worthless Cup, reduce the glut of European club games, or cut the number of internationals. If there were more seeding for the World Cup and Euro 2004, this could cut the number of meaningless internationals.
Doug Meikle, England

Great idea - let's mess about with the FA cup third round yet again! Sorry, forgot that the top clubs don't give a stuff about the rest of us.
John, UK

Maybe there could be a winter break but play out the Worthington Cup throughout this break from first round to final. The teams who want to compete can, and the teams who want to rest can also do so by playing their reserves.
Andy, UK

No, it isn't a move in the right direction. Why is there so much moaning coming from the football professional quarters? Their earnings are sufficient to mean they are pampered as it is. A winter break would pamper them even more.

They complain of playing too many games in a year! Well, the Liverpool side of the '80s would play 60 games a year, winning league titles and European Cups and would have eight players who were ever present. There was no whinging then - they just got on with it.


I think we must cut the Premiership down to 18
Vikash Shah, England

In today's game, players and managers want the most comfortable life possible. They already have breaks when there are internationals on. With this three week break, are we going to see the season end in June or July? Will it then start again in August? They'll complain their break in the summer isn't long enough then.

In the end, they'll get paid the millions they're being paid, to play once a month and, as usual, it's the fans who will suffer by being more out of pocket for less and less entertainment.
Andrew Spencer, Spain

I'm a fan of the plan to have a winter break but I don't think that's enough itself. I think we must cut the Premiership down to 18 also. The timing of the break is debatable as well, and I would favour a break including Christmas Day and New Year which would be beneficial to all players.

Finally thought must again be given to whether the Premiership sides should be competing in the League Cup which is just not a very good competition.
Vikash Shah, England

The benefits to the international side are clear and to the longevity of the players careers. It is only the self-interest of club owners that will prevent this.
Pete R Frawley, England

I can't see what the advantage of this plan will be. Managers are not likely to let their players go away and will want to keep them in training ready for the restart. Almost as many injuries seem to occur in training as in matches these days. Plus, the season will have to become even longer.

What we really need is fewer teams in the Premiership and less matches. Let's be honest, Leicester, West Brom, Birmingham etc, etc, do not belong in the same league as Man Utd, Arsenal, Leeds and the other top clubs. It needs to happen and sooner rather than later.
Bob Wyatt, UK


Surely if the season lasts longer, players will have less time to prepare for international tournaments?
Tim, Germany

I think a winter break is an excellent idea, particularly in a World Cup and European Championship season. It was clear in the second half against Brazil that the English team were knackered. England have a real chance in Portugal in 2004 so long as they are fresh and injury free. A winter break would go a long way to helping to achieve this.
Peter Westbury, England

My heart bleeds for those poor underpaid stars of the Premiership. They have such a difficult time! Everyone else of course gets a winter break don't they?

If they need to play fewer matches then maybe they should not be playing in two leagues at the same time (domestic and European). In the '70s and '80s English clubs enjoyed success in Europe etc, without a winter break.

If England are not successful internationally that is not really down to the fact that they don't have a winter break but that they simply are not good enough. What would happen if the World Cup were played in February (instead of a winter break)? Do you think we would fare any better?
Robert, Holland

Anything that gives us a better chance of regularly winning international & European trophies has got to be a good idea and that includes decreasing the size of the Premiership.
Rodger, England

Surely the only way to reduce fatigue in players is to play fewer games and reduce the number of domestic cup competitions to one. How will players be less tired if they simply play the same amount of games over a different period? Surely if the season lasts longer, players will have less time to prepare for international tournaments?
Tim, Germany


I'm sure a winter break would also aid the top sides in their bid to win the Champions League
Debbie Shaw, England

The New Year can be a bit grim sometimes - we need our football! Have a break late December.
Mary Falconer Steeplechase-Joycourt, London

It makes perfect sense for the Premiership players to have a winter break. Clubs may argue a loss in revenue due to more fixtures midweek, but it would definitely improve the international side and the run in to the Premiership. I think they need to even go one step further and reduce the number of teams to 18 to allow players to perform on European and international stages.
Matt Payne, England

The break is a good idea as it is recommended by all the fitness experts as a way of reducing the risk of an injury crisis like the one England experienced during the World Cup. It is only part of the solution however; we need fewer teams in the Premiership, meaning fewer matches but also a higher quality First Division.
Tim, England

The World Cup was a clear indication that the Premier League needs a winter break. Many players in the competition were clearly fatigued and this was a result of long hard gruelling season. I'm sure a winter break would also aid the top sides in their bid to win the Champions League.
Debbie Shaw, England

 VOTE RESULTS
Does the Premiership need a winter break?

Yes
 67.61% 

No
 32.39% 

9301 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
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