FA announces Premier League break which could affect Wolves, West Brom and Aston Villa
The Football Association has announced a deal with the Premier League and English Football League to introduce a mid-season break in February from the 2019/20 season, a move which could impact a number of Midlands clubs.
After years of deadlock on the issue, the FA and the leagues have finally found a compromise that should give players more rest without upsetting the broadcasters and sponsors too much.
To make room for the two-week break, the FA Cup's fifth-round ties will be played midweek and will be settled on the night, while a round of Premier League fixtures will be played over two weekends, with five games one weekend and five the next.
The break will only apply to the Premier League, though, with a full EFL programme continuing over the break.
This means that the West Midlands sole Premier League club in Wolves, should they remain in the top flight, will benefit from the break.
Meanwhile, should Aston Villa and West Brom gain promotion to the Premier League next season, they could also partake in the stoppage of games through the period. Should they fail to secure promotion or suffer relegation, they will play a full schedule as normal in the 2019/20 season.
In a statement, EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said he supported the creation of a mid-season break for the top flight but "it is currently impractical even if it was desirable for the EFL" to do likewise because of the scheduling challenges of playing 46-game seasons and play-offs.