Premier League winter break confirmed, starting February 2020

The Football Association has confirmed that a winter break will be introduced into English football for the first time from the 2019-20 season.

The FA announced the news in a statement on its website, but unlike other major European leagues the Premier League will not stop entirely for two weeks. Instead there will be a staggered "mid-season player break" which will ensure their are still fixtures on each weekend but every team will get two weeks off. Essentially, one round of Premier League games is split in half and played over two weekends.

The FA Cup fifth round will now move to midweek to accommodate the change and replays will be abolished in that round, having already been scrapped in the quarterfinals from this season. While the Premier League will take a break, the Football League will continue with its full schedule as normal.

Martin Glenn, the FA chief executive, said: "This is a significant moment for English football and one that we believe will greatly benefit both club and country. It's no secret that we have a very congested fixture calendar and over recent years we have been working with the whole game to find a solution.

"Today's announcement proves that football can come together for the good of the game. We have also found a way to give the players a much needed mid-season break, whilst keeping the much-loved Christmas schedule in place. As we head into summer international tournaments in the future we are sure that this mid-season break will prove to be a valuable addition for our players."

Richard Scudamore, the Premier League executive chairman, added: "We have been discussing the football calendar with The FA and EFL for several months, including ways we can work together to ease fixture congestion, keep the Premier League action going right through the season and provide a mid-season player break.

"We are very pleased to have an outcome that will include an exciting first for fans -- a full fixture programme split over two weekends with all matches broadcast live in the UK."

Sources told ESPN FC in February that talks were ongoing with a view to introducing a break ahead of that summer's European Championship.

A breakthrough in discussions came when the FA agreed to move the FA Cup fifth round, with the compensation in the competition's TV rights deal to be covered by Premier League broadcast deals.