Premier League, FA Agree to Implement Winter Break Starting in 2019-2020

All of England's professional divisions will take a two-week break in February after the congested winter slate.
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The FA, Premier League and Football League are believed to have reached an agreement to implement a long awaited English winter break from the 2019/20 season that will also see the FA Cup fifth round moved from a weekend to midweek to accommodate it.

A winter break in England similar to other European countries has long been mooted as a way to ensure players do not suffer from burnout, especially in years with European Championships or World Cups - fatigue has often been blamed for England's poor showings.

The likes of Spain, Italy and Germany already have winter breaks and The Times explains that the plan is for Premier League clubs to have at least 13 days without a game in early February.

That will ensure that traditional Christmas football is preserved in late December and early January, with the break also to come before European competitions resume with knockout stages.

For the break to be possible, the FA is set to move the FA Cup fifth round to the middle of the week and scrap replays to minimize fixture congestion.

The Times report also notes that the winter break will be staggered for Premier League clubs, meaning there will not be a complete lack of top level football for the full two week period.

The Premier League has already implemented big changes ahead of the 2018/19 season after voting to close the summer transfer window three weeks early. Football League clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two have since followed suit.