Premier League winter breakGetty/Goal composite

Premier League 2020 winter break: Why is it happening, FA Cup replay clashes & changes explained

The Premier League has responded to concerns aired by coaches and players alike by agreeing to implement a winter break to its calendar.

English football's long-standing tradition of festive football, with games taking place all through Christmas and the new year, has set it apart from its continental counterparts.

While footballers plying their trade in England must be prepared for a potentially gruelling schedule during the holiday period, their fellow players in Europe are free to relax.

Article continues below

It's something that has irked the likes of Pep Guardiola, who is adamant the festive schedule is 'killing' players, while others such as Jurgen Klopp and Arsene Wenger have also called for a break.

And, in June 2018, officials from the Premier League, the Football Association and the English Football League arrived at a compromise, which comes into effect in 2019-20.

So when is the Premier League's winter break, how long does it last and which other leagues have one? Goal brings you everything you need to know.


  1. When is the Premier League 2019-20 winter break?
  2. Why is the winter break being introduced to the Premier League?
  3. Which other leagues have a winter break?

When is the Premier League 2019-20 winter break?

The 2019-20 Premier League winter break will occur in February 2020. It will work by splitting one gameweek across two weekends on February 8 and February 15.

Five games will be played on Saturday, February 8 and the remaining five games will be played on Saturday, February 15.

Hence, it is not strictly a 'winter break' and the Premier League has refrained from using the term. Instead, league officials have described it as a 'mid-season player break'.

In order to help with the implementation of the break the FA agreed to move FA Cup fifth-round matches, which traditionally occurred in mid February, to mid-week at the beginning of March.

FA Cup clashes & complaints

However, issues have arisen with the timing of the FA Cup fourth-round replays, which are scheduled for February 4 and 5, with Liverpool boss Klopp indicating that his senior team will not play the game.

“The Premier League asked us to respect the winter break. That's what we do," Klopp told the BBC. "If the FA doesn't respect that, then we cannot change it. We will not be there.

“Does that mean I won't be there? Yes. [U-23 coach] Neil Critchley will be in charge."

Return to top

St Mary's stadium Southampton

Why is the winter break being introduced to the Premier League?

The winter break has been introduced to the Premier League to help reduce fixture congestion and to give players a rest.

In introducing the mid-season player break the Premier League is following a similar principle that is already applied in Spain, Italy, Germany and France, as well as Scotland.

FA chief executive Martin Glenn welcomed the move and believes that they have managed to give players "a much-needed break" while also leaving the "much-loved Christmas schedule" untouched.

Glenn has also suggested that it will have a positive impact on the health of the England national team, saying: "As we head into summer international tournaments in the future we are sure that this mid-season break will prove to be a valuable addition for our players."

Return to top

Roberto Firmino Liverpool 2018-19 sleet snowGetty

Which other leagues have a winter break?

Competitions such as La Liga, the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 all observe a winter break during the season. Scottish football has also incorporated a winter break into its calendar.

In Spain, the winter break begins in the lead up to Christmas (normally a day before Christmas eve) and ends shortly after the new year.

Germany's winter break is the longest of Europe's top leagues, starting roughly a week before Christmas and lasting until mid January.

Italian football's winter break lasts for two weeks in January and in France the winter break begins before Christmas and ends just after the new year.

Other countries where a winter break is part of the normal football calendar include Turkey, Russia and Ukraine.

The observance of a winter break is seen as a physical necessity for many countries which are situated in northern Europe, where winters can be especially severe.

Northern European countries such as Ireland, Norway and Sweden, which often experience particularly difficult weather conditions, play their football from spring to autumn.

Return to top