Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has questioned whether the proposed winter break would work successfully in England, saying the Premier League was completely different to other European leagues. British media reports say that the Football Association (FA), English Football League (EFL) and Premier League have discussed the possibility of top-flight teams having a staggered annual 13-day break in early February, starting from 2020. The finer details of the proposal have yet to be sorted out but Pochettino said organisers would have a tough task on their hands.
“I think that the Premier League is the Premier League. It is different to other leagues. To keep the same dynamic is so important,” Pochettino told a news conference on Tuesday. “I don’t know how it is going to work… In England you cannot stop playing on Boxing Day or in the New Year or in the Christmas period. I think this is the most beautiful period in England to play football.
“But in Spain, if you want to play in this period, the fans are not happy. It is cultural. Maybe in February it is going to happen. So okay, we will see if it is going to work but I’m not sure.” Clubs in Spain, Germany, Italy and France have breaks in December and January but English domestic competitions are spread out so there is no lull in action from the start of the season to the finish.
As a result, the proposed change would also require alterations to the FA Cup schedule, with media reports suggesting that the current idea would only work if FA Cup fifth round fixtures were played mid-week and without any replays. Football League teams would not get a break as they play 46 games every campaign, leaving no room for a hiatus.
Tottenham, who are fourth in the league, host Rochdale in the replay of their FA Cup fifth round tie on Wednesday, with the teams drawing 2-2 at Spotland earlier this month.