Fans from all over the world have been shocked when the English Premier League announced that they will be taking a winter break for six weeks albeit the top-flight football league didn’t specify the exact reasons why.
According to the Premier League, the scheduled hiatus will be from January 24 to February 7, considering that the league has no scheduled break until March. However, the sudden break is baffling to many fans, so in this article, we will shed light to this announcement.
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The possible reasons
The six-week break of the Premier League could have two possible reasons behind it. First, the supposed break last year because of the reduced fixture list caused by the pandemic was disregarded by FA, and they are implementing it this year.
The second and possibly the main reason behind the sudden hiatus is because the English top-flight wanted to accommodate the FIFA World Cup that will happen in December. The schedules for the English league could be affected by coaches, players and coaches who will travel to Qatar in November.
The effect of the World Cup to the Premier League schedules
For the second reason mentioned above, the FA thought that the winter break will help the players to have a little rest before the next season’s tournament. The decision is fitting especially for the English clubs which typically participate in four tournaments a year, namely the FA Cup, the Football League Championship, the Community Shield, and of course, the Premier League.
Aside from that, we know that aside from playing for their respective clubs, some players also play for their national teams in international tournaments like the World Cup. Due to this weathering, it is reasonable that the English teams needed some break every now and then.
The Qatar World Cup is set in November and it might cause huge interruptions to the next season of the Premier League that will start on August 6 until May 28 next year. Players will only be given one week to prepare with their national teams before going to Qatar, and only eight days before playing in the Premier League again.
Earlier this year, the heads of the 20 clubs of EPL held a meeting in London to finalize the schedule for the 2022/23 season.
Reactions from English clubs
Not all English clubs were happy with the winter break set by the English League. Aston Villa head Christian Purslow called the decision “crazy.”
“The idea of a winter World Cup is ridiculous, as we couldn’t watch any Premier League football action during the climax of our season from November to December. I am concerned with the well-being of our players, but also I’m sad for our fans who wouldn’t witness any Premier League matches for six weeks, which is already our national tradition,” he said.
Also, Arsenal and Tottenham criticized the stubbornness of the FA to take advantage of the break to allow the matches that were postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreaks to be held during this time. However, the FA said that clubs should use the time to let the players rest before the World Cup fixture begins.
Game interruptions because of the Covid-19 outbreaks
The Covid-19 pandemic has also had a huge impact in the schedules of the Premier League. In fact, at least 19 games were postponed because of the outbreak that happened in different teams.
Among these interrupted matches are: Arsenal versus Tottenham, Wolves versus Arsenal, Leeds versus Aston Villa, Leicester versus Tottenham, and Watford versus Crystal Palace.
Sometimes, the conflict between club football and international tournaments have a huge impact in the fixtures of both aspects of professional football. Among the affected are the players themselves, who have to play for their clubs and national teams. The winter break is a huge help to provide the players a little rest in their fully-booked yearly schedule.