Arsene Wenger always complained when Arsenal had to play 3 games a week over Christmas and the New Year, and he always campaigned for England to fall in line with other top European Leagues and give their players a break over the coldest but most congested time of the year. This is the time when you need to rotate and cover for the numerous injuries that inevitably occur when players are tested to their limits.
So I was pleased to see that the Fa had confirmed a Premier League winter break starting the season after next, but when I looked closer, they have decided to have it in February! And their idea of reducing the fixture congestion is to play the FA Cup 5th round in midweek, and to ban replays. That really will make a massive difference, don’t you think? NO! But the FA thinks it is a breakthrough… “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.”
But this is only going to be for the Premier League with the other three divisions having to continue without a break as they do have a few more games than the top tier. But again, by February all the players in every League, including the Premiership, are usually exhausted. If they are really serious about making things better for our international team, surely they would be better off reducing the amount of teams in each division to reduce the fixture congestion. Then we could have a proper winter break, like Germany….
Is a February break better than nothing?