Premier League
The Premier League will introduce a winter break from the 2019-20 season. In the picture, a general view inside the stadium as snow falls during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Everton at Bet365 Stadium on March 17, 2018, in Stoke on Trent, England. Alex Morton/Getty Images

The Premier League for the first time in its history will introduce a winter break from the 2019-20 season with the English Football Association (FA) hoping it will help English sides perform better in future World Cups and European Championships.

The break will take place in February for three seasons until the end of the 2022 campaign and will coincide with the start of the new TV deal in February 2020. Despite the two week break there will be football every weekend with five games happening one weekend and the other five the following weekend thus ensuring all teams get two weeks off.

The Football Association decided to alter the FA Cup in order to accommodate the new schedule. The fifth round of the prestigious domestic cup will be moved to midweek, while replays have been scrapped with all drawn matches after 90 minutes to be decided with extra-time and penalties.

The third and fourth round of the FA Cup will be as is in order to protect the lower league clubs, as replays contribute to raising further revenue. The winter break is only for the Premier League while the English Football League that encompasses the three lower divisions in England will remain untouched.

It is the first time that English clubs will have a winter break bringing them in line with the other top European leagues. However, unlike the other leagues they will not have the break during the Christmas and New Year period, with the fixtures during that period remaining intact owing to the revenue it generates and its popularity among the public.

The Football Association is hoping the winter break will help provide a much needed mid-season breather for the players and help them perform better in the summer events — the World Cup and the European Championships.

“It has been talked about for years and there has not been the climate of collaboration there is now,” Martin Glenn, the FA chief executive said, as quoted by the Guardian. “It needed a strong FA to get it through, an FA that was financially in a better place and confident of its future revenue streams.”

“I think you will see England players better rested for Euro 2020 and hopefully we will see that in their performance and continued improvement in the Champions League performance by English clubs."

“We feel really strongly about never changing the third and fourth rounds,” he added. “A core essence of the Cup is the giant-killing. Interestingly, it’s what seems to be one of the reasons it is popular abroad. That won’t change.”

Another stipulation that will be written into the Premier League rule book will be to ban clubs from undertaking lucrative exhibition matches overseas during the break. The FA is keen for it to be treated as a proper break for the players and not an added avenue to generate more revenue for the club.