A winter break will come into force in the Premier League for the first time in the 2019/20 season – something that will affect Newcastle United’s schedule in mid-February.
The division was the only major European league not to observe a winter break but, following consultation between the FA and the Premier League, it was agreed at the top flight’s AGM in 2018 that a break will be brought in for the upcoming campaign and beyond.
The Football Association, at the time of the agreement, believed that a break in the season would help the England national side to succeed at future World Cups and European Championships, with the governing body even going as far as agreeing to move the FA Cup fifth round to midweek and scrap replays from that stage of the competition in order to get the deal through.
Precisely when Newcastle will have a hiatus in their schedule remains to be seen, but the approximate date of an announcement will be December 14, when TV companies reveal which games will be broadcast.
The full details of which game is subject to change can be found below.
When will the first ‘winter break’ happen?
The first break will happen in February 2020 and will be trialled for the three years covering the new broadcasting rights deal.
It will allow English players 10 days’ rest before the European Championship next summer, when Wembley will host seven matches, including the semi-finals and final.
Newcastle United 2019/20 Premier League fixtures
How long will the Premier League winter break be?
The winter break will take place over a fortnight-long period, with the break for Premier League clubs set to be staggered over two weekends. These will be the weekends of February 8 and 15.
Half of the top-flight teams will be playing the first weekend and the other 10 teams will be playing the following weekend, which will allow all clubs to have a 14-day break from football.
Clubs will not be allowed to use the break to go on money-making tours around the world though, although they will be granted permission to attend warm-weather training camps.
Newcastle are provisionally due to travel to Arsenal on the weekend of February 8, but that fixture could be put back a week, depending on whether they are among the first or second half of the sides observing their winter break.
Which Premier League fixtures could be changed to accommodate the winter break?
Arsenal vs Newcastle United
Aston Villa vs Tottenham Hotspur
Brighton vs Watford
Chelsea vs Manchester United
Everton vs Crystal Palace
Manchester City vs West Ham United
Norwich City vs Liverpool
Sheffield United vs A.F.C. Bournemouth
Southampton vs Burnley
Wolverhampton vs Leicester City
Will there still be a Premier League festive schedule?
Yes, the Premier League festive schedule will remain the same as normal.
This period in the calendar is believed to be particularly attractive to broadcasters and they are keen on it remaining as it is.
Newcastle travel to Crystal Palace on December 21 and Manchester United on Boxing Day, host Everton on December 28, while they also welcome Leicester City to Tyneside on New Year’s Day.
Will the winter break affect clubs in the EFL?
No, the winter break will only impact clubs in the Premier League, with the Football League remaining unaffected and observing no rest period.
When asked why last year, EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said: “It is currently impractical even if it was desirable for the EFL to introduce a similar break in our competitions. We will look to showcase the Sky Bet EFL during the two‑week period.”
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