There have been calls in various quarters for a winter break in the Premier League in recent years, but perhaps the most prominent of them has waited until now to voice his opinion on the subject. Speaking to the Sunday Express, Wayne Rooney stated that the head honchos of the Premiership should introduce a winter break, he said,
“A winter break would not only help the England team but the Premier League as well. Towards the end of the season the intensity in some of the games which is normally there is missing. It’s a long season with the intensity the games are played at. It is only fair on the players that there is a break.”
It would be interesting to canvass other players on the subject, but Rooney clearly believes it would be beneficial to England and the Premiership, so is he right about the winter break?
The other top leagues around Europe already have a winter break in place, it is the case in Spain, Italy, Germany and France, so why should England be any different? Premier League chief Richard Scudamore has stated that he doesn’t know where the time would come from in what is a crowded fixture list. Some have argued that the size of the league should be reduced in order to cope with this, from 20 teams to 18, but Scudamore has also dismissed this prospect, he stated,
“I can’t see where the momentum is going to come to reduce our league from 20 to 18 clubs. It would be daft to do that when you have a global property of our strength.”
However, Spain, Italy and France all have 20 teams in their top league, and they still manage to fit in their winter breaks. Like in England they also have cup competitions such as the FA Cup and the League Cup as well as European ties to cope with, and I think reducing the Premier League down to 18 teams would be a bad move.
Arguments for the winter break have mainly stemmed from the performances of the England national team. After a series of failures and a particularly disappointing showing at this summers World Cup, calls for the break reached their highest level, as fans, pundits, journalists and managers attempted to fathom the reasons behind England’s awful showing. England seemed jaded, tired and uninsipired, but is the reason for this a lack of a winter break? It is not conclusive. Players from other countries who had had a full season of Premier League action did not necessarily suffer from tiredness, and there are certainly other reasons as to why England performed so badly.
As an observer of the Premier League and England, I would be hesitant to say definitively whether a winter break would help the players and make a difference to the national team, until it was put into action I’m not sure anyone could. What I can say for definite is that I’m not particularly opposed to a winter break, and I think it might be worth trying at some point to see the effect it has on the league and on England. It is the players who are going to be affected most, and if a majority of them expressed an interest in one being introduced, I think it is something the Premier League chiefs would be well advised to look at.