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A Premier League winter break will impact the 2023/24 season, the first time this has taken place since 2019/20. It will take place from 15 January to 29 January.
At present, just four points split the top five whilst at the foot of the table, the bottom five are separated by a maximum of six points, in what is proving to be a very competitive campaign.
As we move toward the turn of the year, the usual frantic festive period will be followed by a calmer period of fixtures. This is where the mid-season break comes in.
Why is there a Premier League mid-season break?
At the centre of this decision is player welfare.
At the top level, there is arguably too much football with rest periods and downtime dwindling. For players on the elite stage, a very demanding club season, often competing on four fronts, is followed by an international tournament then the pattern is repeated. Manchester United centre-back Raphael Varane has publicly complained about the scheduling.
Last season was very tough with a World Cup squeezed into the ‘normal' domestic calendar. The Qatar tournament meant club games were chopped and changed, with the Premier League on a hiatus between the middle of November and Boxing Day. Normal service resumed immediately.
When is the Premier League winter break 2023/24?
The Premier League winter break will take place early in 2024, running from 15 January to 29 January.
A split schedule means that following the FA Cup third round on the weekend of 6/7 January, Matchday 21 in the Premier League will be played over the following two weekends.
Arsenal v Crystal Palace – 20 January
Brentford v Nott'm Forest – 20 January
Sheff Utd v West Ham – 21 January
Bournemouth v Liverpool – 21 January
Brighton v Wolves – 22 January
With the FA Cup fourth round taking place on 27/28 January, some clubs could end up with three weeks between competitive games, depending on how they fare in the previous round which will bring an interesting dimension to those ties.
In conjunction with the mid-season break, it was agreed with the Football Association that FA Cup fifth round matches would be moved to midweek with replays eradicated, to be replaced with extra time and penalties.
This move will contribute slightly toward easing the congested football calendar but much more is required, especially from the perspective of the players.
When does football return after the Premier League winter break?
The Premier League will return in full, with a full midweek fixture card for Matchday 22 on 30/31 January, immediately followed by a full programme just days later in the first weekend of February.
Is there a Championship winter break?
There is no Football League winter break. It's only in the Premier League.