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Premier League agree historic winter break

London: England's Premier League has agreed to introduce a winter break in a historic move to give players a rest during an increasingly crowded season, the Football Association (FA) announced Friday.

The break — which falls short of those taken in mainland European leagues -- will give the 20 Premier League teams a weekend off football in February beginning in the 2019/20 campaign.

Five matches will be played one weekend with the second batch of five the following weekend.

The FA's part of the bargain — also agreed with the English Football League responsible for the divisions outside the Premier League — is to switch FA Cup fifth round ties to midweek in that period. In addition they will have to be played to achieve a result with no possibility of a replay as was the case before.

"This is a significant moment for English football and one that we believe will greatly benefit both club and country," said FA chief executive Martin Glenn.

"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." Glenn added that the hectic schedule over the Christmas and New Year period — which has become increasingly a controversial issue with fans and players alike — had been retained.

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