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EPL to enjoy winter break from 2020

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The English Premier League (EPL) will have a mid-season break from the 2019-20 season, the FA has announced.

Martin Glenn, Football Association chief executive, says the mid-season break will give future England teams a chance of doing well in major tournaments.

Another major change announced is that FA Cup fifth-round matches will be moved to midweek in order to accommodate the planned break.

From the start of the 2019-20 season, fifth-round replays will also be removed and replaced with extra-time and penalties.

Glenn said: “If you were to look at other countries that do it, they say, their technical people say, it’s as much the mental break as the physical one. There is nothing as intense as an English Premier League season, with 38 games at all count for something.

“The hope is that players will be more mentally rested, which makes them fresher, which you will see in, from an England point of view, hopefully going into end of season tournaments with a bit more verve and vim.

“And, as importantly, the reason the Premier League clubs are so keen on it is that in the Champions League knock-out stage, where we’ve not been great over the past few years, hopefully that can help.

“We’re not doing it until the 2019-20 season, with the new TV deal. It’s one of those things where I cannot guarantee it will have an immediate impact. It will obviously affect foreign players here as well. I just think it seems on the face of it a reasonable thing to try.

“This is not seen to be a way and won’t be (of making money). The Premier League also feel strongly about it. This will be in their Rules, so absolutely not. This has to be a player break.

“There won’t be a change to third and fourth round replays. A core essence of the Cup is the giant-killing in the third and fourth rounds. That’s absolutely core, what it’s all about.

“Interestingly, it’s what seems to be one of the reasons it is popular abroad. Everybody likes to see a giant-killing. That won’t change.

“They put a lot of importance on the FA Cup, and they should, because it’s our biggest asset. As you know, I’ve banged on about it, the FA is a not-for-profit organisation. We run football on the back of the money we raise and the FA Cup is massively important.

“Part of it is we need to make sure the big clubs are incentivised to still take it pretty seriously and that’s the biggest argument, which is: we sold a new FA Cup deal internationally, for masses more than we previously sold it. One of the reasons is they’re seeing Premier League clubs in a different competition.”

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