Premier League to implement winter break from 2019/20 season.
A two-week Premier League mid-season player break in February has been approved to start from the 2019-20 season, the FA has announced.
The winter break ensures that Premier League matches will still be played over the period, with five top-flight games to be staged on the first weekend and five on the following weekend.
The FA has agreed to move FA Cup fifth-round matches to midweek in order to accommodate the planned break and, from the start of the 2019-20 season, fifth-round replays will be removed and replaced with extra-time and penalties.
“This is a significant moment for English football and one that we believe will greatly benefit both club and country,” said Martin Glenn, chief executive of the FA.
“It’s no secret that we have a very congested fixture calendar and over recent years we have been working with the whole game to find a solution.
“Today’s announcement proves that football can come together for the good of the game. We have also found a way to give the players a much needed mid-season break, whilst keeping the much-loved Christmas schedule in place.
“As we head into summer international tournaments in the future we are sure that this mid-season break will prove to be a valuable addition for our players.”
All three divisions in the EFL will remain unchanged during the winter break, with a full fixture list for the 72 League teams.
“It has been useful to have these positive discussions over the last few months and, as part of the conversations, we have been able to ensure that our requirements could be incorporated within any changes,” said Shaun Harvey, chief executive of the EFL.
“We very much understand, and support, the requirement and wishes of our colleagues across the game to introduce a mid-season player break.
“We hope it will provide the appropriate recovery time for players and have the positive impact on player and team performance that it is designed to deliver.
“At the same time we must acknowledge that fixture congestion remains a challenge and with a 46-game season to complete, plus the play-offs inside a 10-month period, it is currently impractical even if it was desirable for the EFL to introduce a similar break in our competitions.
“We will look to showcase the EFL during the two week period.”