In Brief

FA Cup TV deal scuppers plans for Premier League winter break

Contract says ties must still be played on weekends and fixtures cannot be moved

A "hugely significant" new TV rights deal for the FA Cup, reportedly worth £820m over six seasons, could scupper hopes for a winter break for the Premier League until at least 2025.

Last month the BBC reported that plans to move the fourth and fifth rounds of the cup to midweek and abandon replays were under discussion with the aim of creating space in the calendar to give players a rest.

But the lucrative new TV deal, agreed this week, is dependent on FA Cup games taking place at weekends, reports The Times.

"It is understood that the new £820m contract, which will run for six seasons from 2018-19, contains clauses stipulating that the initial ties must take place over weekends, removing any scope to rearrange the fixture calendar to facilitate a mid-season shutdown," says the paper.

The FA Cup deal "does contain the scope for scrapping replays – which almost always take place midweek – but that alone would not create space for a break without concessions from the Premier League", adds the paper.

But there is no chance of the Premier League agreeing to move weekend matches to midweek to create space in the calendar, as weekend games attract a much bigger global TV audience. 

"Ideally, the Premier League would like to schedule even more matches at weekends and there is no prospect of it agreeing to move fixtures to midweek to create space for a winter break when negotiations over the next TV contract begin next year.

"The Premier League and Football Association support the concept of a winter break in theory... but neither organisation appears prepared to take the commercial hit necessary to make it happen."

A mid-season break has been put forward as one way of improving the fortunes of the England football team at major tournaments, with fatigue among players after a long season often cited as a reason for their under performance.

Recommended

Premier League: what we learned from the opening weekend
Erling Haaland scored both goals on his Premier League debut for Manchester City
View from the terraces

Premier League: what we learned from the opening weekend

Football club accidentally names stand after Rose West
rose-west.jpg
Tall Tales

Football club accidentally names stand after Rose West

Online abuse in football: ‘the dark side to the beautiful game’
Man Utd’s Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo are two players regularly targeted
Talking point

Online abuse in football: ‘the dark side to the beautiful game’

Premier League predictions: title winners and relegation
The Premier League trophy
View from the terraces

Premier League predictions: title winners and relegation

Popular articles

Is World War Three on the cards?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Is World War Three on the cards?

Will China invade Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

Will China invade Taiwan?

Why cats prefer people who hate them
A cat
Tall Tales

Why cats prefer people who hate them

The Week Footer Banner