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    Should the EPL have a winter break?

    After another hectic festive Premier League program, the debate around fixture congestion and whether a winter break should be introduced has, once again, come to the fore. The busy fixture list came in for plenty of criticism from various managers, complaining that the Premier League was putting quantity before quality. Some also argued that the fixture list favoured certain sides and penalised others. Form over the festive period can make or break a team's season and a number of high-profile managers have criticised the amount of games that are played in such a short space of time.

    Southampton manager Claude Puel felt he had particular cause for complaint as his Southampton side faced the daunting prospect of three games in six days and went on to lose all three, when you consider that Chelsea faced the same number of games in a ten day period, you could certainly argue that their is a lack of fairness in the way the fixtures are scheduled. Much of this has to do with viewing figures and the desire for the 'big teams' to be televised, in order to achieve the largest audience possible. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was frustrated that his side had to play Sunderland just two days after their victory against Manchester City. Klopp simply couldn't understand why Liverpool were forced to play so soon after a huge match in a game that wasn't televised live.

    It could be argued that, to a foreign manager entering the English game, the idea of not having a winter break seems completely alien and the tradition of these fixtures is somewhat lost. However, many people within the English game have questioned the logic of having such a congested fixture list at this stage of the season and have even suggested that it could be a contributing factor towards the lack of English success on the international stage. Some also argue that, until the Premier League puts the national sides needs before their own, England will continue to underperform at the highest level.

    With the sheer revenue and audience figures that the Premier League draws in the festive period alone, the introduction of a winter break seems a remote possibility, at least in the near future. The issue has only been intensified with the announcement that next season's Christmas and new year fixtures will be even more congested, leading to some clubs facing an intimidating six games in seventeen days. This is mainly due to the domestic season ending early in order to give players adequate preparation for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, assuming England qualify. This can only add to the frustration of many players and managers and will ensure that this issue remains on the agenda for some time to come.

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    Item Reviewed: Should the EPL have a winter break? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Dave Cook
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