Yesterday I was reminded by Guillem Balagué that there will be a winter break in the Premier League...but not during the festive season with the halt in action taking place from February 8-21. The governing body has taken complaints on board from players and backroom staff that the non-stop action was later impacting on performance at international level. It's somewhat ironic that the break comes in the same year where four English sides are through to the Champions League Round of 16 and all Premier League representatives in the Europa League have progressed to the next stage. As always in the game of football, this achievement by the Premier League sides can be read in many different ways and used to suit a number of arguments.
We had a full round of Boxing Day fixtures with the next installment coming up on Saturday (28th). There will also be a series of games on New Years Day before the third round of the 2019-20 FA Cup. During this period of the year, the other major European leagues take time off and allow players and staff linked with clubs to down tools and spend time with their loved ones. Here in Spain, this was not always the case and I can recall instances of domestic league games being played on December 24, 25, 31st and even on New Years Day and Barça even had a tradition of playing their game on Christmas Day as a ritual. These was a time when many children enjoyed their debut experiences at football matches going to the stadium hand-in-hand with their fathers or grandfathers.
Football heritage and culture
This family aspect has been one of the keys for English football to retain the tradition of playing football during the Christmas period and the intense fixture-list this year will allow the later February breathing space. Kids wrap-up to beat the wintry conditions as they head to the game with their parents as the game of football becomes a major family event over the festive season. Football was invented in the United Kingdom and the love of the game is still incredibly deep rooted and cherished in British culture. I know it's not the time for nostalgia and I can only shudder to think what would happen if Tebas and Rubiales came up with the idea to play games here in this time of year but I do miss when domestic games were played over Christmas.