English football's winter break to be put on ice

LONDON • Martin Glenn, the chief executive of the Football Association (FA), has said there is a growing desire within English football for a mid-season break but it will be 2019-20 at the earliest before one can be introduced.

Sam Allardyce used his first day as the England manager to reiterate his belief that a winter break would improve the team's lamentable tournament record.

He added: "January and February is always the most difficult time to get players through."

But he is unlikely to see the benefit during his England tenure.

Glenn said there is no prospect of a winter break during the current Premier League broadcasting deal, which runs from next month until 2019, but he believes there is broad agreement on the merits of a break among the FA, Premier League and Football League.

He said: "There is a consensus that it would be a good thing to do. We can do our bit about fixture congestion and that's why from the quarter-finals (of the FA Cup this season) we're not going to replays.

NOT THE IDEAL TIME

If we are going to get a winter break, which the FA very much wants, it would be after the current Premier League TV-rights deal is done.

MARTIN GLENN, FA chief executive, on the likelihood of a winter break in the English football season.

"If we are going to get a winter break, which the FA very much wants, it would be after the current Premier League TV-rights deal is done.

"What scared people about winter breaks in the past is the thought of it being between Boxing Day and New Year but it doesn't have to be then. It can be after the FA Cup third round in mid-January.

"We can do it collaboratively with the leagues and I think there is a growing consensus that it should happen."

Glenn confirmed that he, the FA's technical director Dan Ashworth and the vice-chairman David Gill spoke to four other candidates for the England job but only Allardyce was offered the position.

"He fitted all the criteria we were looking for," Glenn said.

"What we didn't want was a short-term mercenary to come in to 'do a job' for a couple of years."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2016, with the headline 'English football's winter break to be put on ice'. Print Edition | Subscribe