By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
  1. David Bolt

    David Bolt Member

    May 30, 2008
    Liverpool
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Wales

    Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

    By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
    [​IMG]

    This week, the UK is experiencing a once-in-every few-years snowfall. It’s not a great deal of snow; but in a country unaccustomed to getting any, even a little snow is enough to screw up the roads, railways, airports and general infrastructure. The snow has also had a devastating effect on British football with many games being called off due to snow-covered pitches.

    By coincidence, the past few days also seems to be the time when the Premier League has moved a step closer to introducing a winter break after the Premier League and Football League agreed a deal that would see a 13-day break introduced in the first two weeks of February from 2020 onwards and will see the 5th round of the FA Cup being played midweek, and with no replays for that round.

    The break will be staggered so that 10 teams will have one weekend free, then play the next and vice-versa so that each team gets an equal break but football doesn’t entirely come to a halt.

    This isn’t a done deal, as the FA have to approve it. Despite the Football League being involved in the negotiations, the break will only apply to the Premier League as the Football League’s 46-game season leaves no room for manoeuvre.

    For most people this is good news, as they’ve been calling for a break in English football for years. The belief behind this is they think England have suffered in international tournaments because the schedule at the moment is too punishing on players’ bodies, which leaves them injured and burned-out by the end of the season, which in turn has a knock-on effect on their performances at tournaments.

    Most people see the logic in this, but the argument has always been that a winter break would mean messing with the games traditionally played over the Christmas period, which are a pain for managers but popular with broadcasters. This new plan sidesteps that altogether as the Christmas period would be unaffected.

    But to me, this plan doesn’t make much sense.

    I’m not convinced this will keep players any fresher or injury free. I think that a break in February is too late to be effective. A break in February would mean it would come when teams have played roughly 26 games of a 38-game league season. I can see how having a break halfway through the season would be beneficial, but is having one after teams have played 2/3rds of their league campaign going to be as effective?

    The website physioroom.com did an analysis of injuries sustained in the Premier League and found that there’s a spike in injuries in November, December and January, i.e. when there’s a lot of games and players need a rest.

    The Christmas period in particular can be brutal on players. This season Manchester United played 4 games in only 9 days. It’s after periods like that players need a rest. I’m not sure getting a rest a month later will be much help.

    So why are they having it in February? Most leagues that have a winter break have it either over the Christmas period, or in early January with the league resuming in mid-January. My guess would be that the Premier League probably realised that the FA and EFL wouldn’t go for a break in January, so this is a compromise.

    Early January is when the Premier League and Championship teams enter the 3rd round of the FA Cup, with the 4th round being played later in January and the FA wouldn’t want to change that; and it may also be a hard sell to the Football League as that’s the time they can make a lot of money with a televised FA Cup tie against a Premier League team.

    As it is the Premier League may have a tough time convincing the FA to allow them to mess with the traditions of the oldest football competition in the world by moving games from their traditional weekend spot to midweek. Also, there are some murmurings of discontent from the lower league clubs who fear that FA Cup replays, which can provide a huge source of revenue to them, will be scrapped altogether just to accommodate the Premier League.

    The other thing that those who’ve been pushing for a winter break presume is that a break will mean a break. In the past few weeks most Premier League teams have gone off to the Middle East or Spain for some warm weather training.

    There’s nothing wrong with that, but give those teams a bit longer away, and there’s a good chance they’ll just go and play a money-spinning friendly further afield, which will make a mockery of using that break to rest the players.

    This all smacks to me of a Premier League power grab. This break will have most benefit to the English teams in the knockout stages of the Champions League and Europa League, which usually start in mid-February. The further a team goes in those competitions; the more money they make.

    This is a move that benefits a few Premier League clubs only. I don’t think it will help the England team, as I’m unconvinced that it will help the players be any fresher or injury-free for the summer.

    The original idea behind having a winter break would be to reduce fixture congestion and give the players time to recover from a hectic period of games. That’s sensible. Shoehorning a break into a relatively quiet time of the season is not going to have the same benefit.
     

Comments

Discussion in 'England' started by David Bolt, Feb 28, 2018.

    1. Jenks

      Jenks Member+

      Feb 16, 2013
      Club:
      --other--

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      The winter break is more about performance than avoiding injury, the latter issue is just an easier way to sell it to the public. The human body can be conditioned to play football all year round, it's the mental side that really takes the toll, and there is plenty of data now that shows the benefits of a short break. I would agree that a winter break in November might be more beneficial overall, but what we're getting - or likely to get - is still far more desirable than what we have now.
       
    2. Paul Berry

      Paul Berry Member+

      Notts County and NYCFC
      England
      Apr 18, 2015
      Beacon NY
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      I don't really understand the benefit. Raheem Sterling played 62 games for club and country in 2015/16. If a winter break were introduced he'd still play 62 games.
       
    3. ChristianSur

      ChristianSur Member+

      May 5, 2015
      Club:
      Sheffield Wednesday FC

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      This UEFA study from 2004 found that leagues without a winter break experienced four times as many injuries in Mar, Apr, and May. I can't really comment on the methodology, but if it's accurate, that's really the only argument you need.

      That would also suggest that a much larger number of players were physically vulnerable without actually succumbing to injury. When you consider that we're one of the only major nations that draws ALL of its squad from a league with no winter break, it's hardly surprising that we so often look listless at summer tournaments.

      Not to suggest for a minute that this is the only reason for our underperforming, but it could be a significant factor.
       
    4. Paul Berry

      Paul Berry Member+

      Notts County and NYCFC
      England
      Apr 18, 2015
      Beacon NY
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      But surely a long-trip to the Far-East to play lucrative friendlies would offset the mental benefits.
       
    5. Jenks

      Jenks Member+

      Feb 16, 2013
      Club:
      --other--

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      That won't happen.
       
    6. worldfootballgenius

      New York Red Bulls
      United States
      Jul 9, 2003
      Brooklyn, NY
      Club:
      FC Bayern München
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      I support a winter break. EPL players are usually exhausted for the summer tournaments. It might not be the amount of games, but the frequency in which they're played? A short break might do more good than realized.
       
    7. Paul Berry

      Paul Berry Member+

      Notts County and NYCFC
      England
      Apr 18, 2015
      Beacon NY
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      But they'll still play the same number of games.
       
    8. worldfootballgenius

      New York Red Bulls
      United States
      Jul 9, 2003
      Brooklyn, NY
      Club:
      FC Bayern München
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      It might not be the amount of games, but the frequency in which they're played?
       
      hussar repped this.
    9. JRSG

      JRSG Member

      Mar 25, 2015
      Club:
      Torquay United

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      A week or two letting the body full recover makes a big difference even if you play the same amount of games either side of it.
       
      ChristianSur and hussar repped this.
    10. Paul Berry

      Paul Berry Member+

      Notts County and NYCFC
      England
      Apr 18, 2015
      Beacon NY
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      But you can do that through squad rotation a la Patrick Vieira at NYC FC.
       
    11. Jenks

      Jenks Member+

      Feb 16, 2013
      Club:
      --other--

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      If that were true then why do all the top managers want the break? Why does it work elsewhere? Why would you want to weaken your team with a squad rotation policy that not everyone else will share, when you could all just have a solid two weeks off instead?
       
      ChristianSur repped this.
    12. wellno

      wellno Member

      Jul 31, 2016

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      MLS is a silly league where there's no relegation and the main aim of the season is merely to finish in the top half of the table for play off qualification so the main season ends up a bit of a meaningless slog with a lot of the teams having not all that much to play for from quite early on. Almost very team in the PL is either still in contention for Europe or at risk of relegation - they're not going to risk playing weakened teams and it would be bad for the integrity of the competition if they did.
       
    13. barroldinho

      barroldinho Member+

      Man Utd and LA Galaxy
      England
      Aug 13, 2007
      Ex-pat in HB, CA
      Club:
      Manchester United FC
      Nat'l Team:
      England

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      As I've been saying for over a decade: scrap the League Cup. No nation needs three major competitions. You've got the FA Cup for giant-killings and even that competition is starting to see less emphasis from the bigger clubs.

      With that cup gone, you'll have more free dates to shuffle around, facilitating a break, as well as reducing the potential number of games that a club participates in.
       
      Beau Dure repped this.
    14. barroldinho

      barroldinho Member+

      Man Utd and LA Galaxy
      England
      Aug 13, 2007
      Ex-pat in HB, CA
      Club:
      Manchester United FC
      Nat'l Team:
      England

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      Firstly, are you seriously suggesting that EPL clubs don't rotate their squads and rest players?

      Secondly, as well as qualifying for the playoffs, MLS clubs also compete for the Supporters Shield, Champions League berths, the right to host the MLS Cup, a bye to skip the first round of playoffs and the right to host that first round. Oh and seeding. Plus the level of parity means that there is always a small margin between making the playoffs and not (as well as the other items I just listed).
       
      Beau Dure and Paul Berry repped this.
    15. Paul Berry

      Paul Berry Member+

      Notts County and NYCFC
      England
      Apr 18, 2015
      Beacon NY
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      Look at the Championship table and check how many teams would be in the hunt for promotion and relegation without playoffs. Most MLS teams have a chance of making the playoffs until the last few weeks of the season. Last year's finale was incredibly exciting.
       
      barroldinho repped this.
    16. Jenks

      Jenks Member+

      Feb 16, 2013
      Club:
      --other--

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      I would happily scrap Championship play-offs, personally.
       
    17. wellno

      wellno Member

      Jul 31, 2016

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      No. I did not say that. There's a big difference between resting players and wholesale rotation, in your post you were either talking about that later or contributing nothing to the discussion.

      If you follow MLS you'll know that the supporters shield and local Champions League are seen as secondary and less important competitions compared to the MLS Cup - English clubs also have no qualms about rotating players in games they see as secondary and unimportant.

      But not NYCFC the team you actually cited. They were comfortably in the play offs. Your statement about the Championship is irrelevant to a conversation about a winter break in the Premier League.
       
      ChristianSur repped this.
    18. barroldinho

      barroldinho Member+

      Man Utd and LA Galaxy
      England
      Aug 13, 2007
      Ex-pat in HB, CA
      Club:
      Manchester United FC
      Nat'l Team:
      England

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      Less important doesn't mean unimportant. MLS teams certainly see ample importance in both those things, even if the MLS Cup is the priority.
       
    19. Paul Berry

      Paul Berry Member+

      Notts County and NYCFC
      England
      Apr 18, 2015
      Beacon NY
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      Last game if the season they were competing with Chicago and Atlanta to avoid playing in the first round of the playoffs. It went right down to the wire. Smashing stuff!
       
      barroldinho repped this.
    20. JRSG

      JRSG Member

      Mar 25, 2015
      Club:
      Torquay United

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      Vieira at NYC FC has had to juggle a squad for 74 games across two seasons so far. Mourinho is on 106 and could have near 20 games left this season.

      Rotation isn't a concept alien to England. It happens. It's just useful to allow a significant break for bodies to recover and to keep the quality of the product as high as possible. Ultimately people want to watch the best players play as much as possible.
       
      ChristianSur, Jenks and hussar repped this.
    21. Beau Dure

      Beau Dure Member+

      May 31, 2000
      Vienna, VA

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      Agreed with scrapping the League Cup. What a pointless competition.

      I've also never understood why each team needs to play all the festive fixtures. Everyone plays on Boxing Day ... and then again on the next Saturday/Sunday and the previous Saturday/Sunday. Why not split things up so some teams play Boxing Day and the other teams play on the next regular fixture date?

      Yes, you'd still need to account for the number of games. Maybe someday, the EPL will have to bite the bullet and drop to 18 teams. Perhaps that would be in conjunction with a two-tiered EPL so the second tier is raking in its share of TV money as well.
       
    22. Paul Berry

      Paul Berry Member+

      Notts County and NYCFC
      England
      Apr 18, 2015
      Beacon NY
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      Many EFL clubs would struggle without the revenue from shared gate money.

      The Europa League is pretty pointless too.

      Because Boxing Day and New Year's Day typically get huge attendances, though that's not so much of an issue in the Prem.

      I think 18 teams is the way to go.
       
    23. revolutionaryguy

      revolutionaryguy New Member

      Oct 13, 2008

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      It'll never work! Football in England is all we have to get through the winter here in the USA. You won't see that happen, buddy.
       
    24. ChristianSur

      ChristianSur Member+

      May 5, 2015
      Club:
      Sheffield Wednesday FC

      Will the Premier League Winter Break Work?

      By David Bolt on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:01 AM
      Got to be trolling.
       

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