Richard Scudamore backs Premier League winter break


Richard Scudamore believes players will benefit from the Premier League mid-season player break in February

Outgoing Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore is in no doubt that players will benefit from a winter break.

A two-week Premier League ‘mid-season player break’ in February has been approved to start from the 2019-20 season.

Premier League matches will still be played over the period, with five top-flight games to be staged on the first weekend and five on the following weekend.

The FA has agreed to move FA Cup fifth-round matches to midweek in order to accommodate the planned break while fifth-round replays will be removed and replaced with extra-time and penalties.

Scudamore told Sky Sports News: “I think it’s very positive and really a mark of much-improved working relationships between the Premier League and FA.

“It is literally to give players a break. It is a long old season especially for those clubs that are in Europe. It’s relentless and we have this intense period over Christmas.

“They [the players] can’t de-train, they have to keep training because it’s not long enough to completely wind down like it might be over the summer.

“But at least it’s a mental break and everybody says that will do well for them when they get to the business end of the season, whether that be competing in Europe, competing for out title, or particularly when England players get off to championships.

Scuadmore, who is stepping down after leading the organisation for almost 20 years, was also asked about his thoughts on standing at games.

Labour has came out in favour of safe-standing in the Premier League and Championship, increasing the pressure on the government to follow suit.

“I think the whole standing issue has to be approached cautiously, you can’t just plant a flag out there and say it must happen.

“We the Premier League understand there is a mood among fans that they would like some form of choice.

“While there is a massive populist move towards it there are also some people who find it difficult to think that we may re-introduce standing.

“I want to get rid of that re-introduce word because if it comes back it is not coming back in the way it was in the eighties, it has to be fit for purpose, very safe and very well managed.”

Scuadmore was also questioned on FIFA’s proposal to expand the Club World Cup to include at least 12 teams from Europe.

Choosing to speak in his role as chairman of the World Leagues Forum he said: “The World Leagues Forum view is that this would not be good for leagues around the world, not good for players, and therefore it is not necessary.

“It’s already a crowded calendar, there’s already as much football as people can tolerate and it’s unnecessary.”

Scudamore intends to vacate his position at the Premier League before the end of 2018.

“I’ll probably be around to consult on what the job is,” he went on. “Not many people know what the job is more than me so I can probably contribute but I’m certainly not going to be involved in the selection of my successor.

“There are some hugely talented people who will come into a great job at a great time with the prospects for the Premier League looking very bright.”