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SBD Global/October 16, 2012/International Football

FA Cup Replays Could Be Sacrificed For EPL Winter Break

EPL CEO Richard Scudamore has revealed that "talks about the introduction of a winter break are underway" but hinted that FA Cup replays may have to be sacrificed to make it work, according to Mark Cue of the LONDON TIMES. Scudamore said that the EPL is "not inclined" to reduce its size from 20 teams meaning that space will have to "be freed up elsewhere" on a congested 10-month schedule to accommodate a proposed two-week break. He also stated this aim would be difficult to achieve "unless someone is prepared to give something up." Last month, England Manager Roy Hodgson joined his predecessors, Fabio Capello and Sven-Göran Eriksson, in pushing for the EPL to "fall in line" with the rest of Europe's top leagues by introducing a winter shutdown (LONDON TIMES, 10/15).

THE BIG THREE: In London, Mark Ogden reported that Scudamore admitted the "three key stakeholders" in the English game -- the FA, EPL and Football League -- have yet to solve how a winter break could be made to work with the current match schedule. The EPL CEO believes that "the ball is in the FA's court" should it wish to introduce a winter break for the benefit of the English team. Scudamore said, "We are not inclined to reduce the number of clubs in the Premier League. Similarly, the Football League don't want to lose the League Cup. As for the FA, they don't want to give up replays in the FA Cup, so we all sit down, and we all look at each other, but it's pretty hard for those of us in English Football to create that two-week space. Despite the "firmly-held positions of each organisation, Scudamore insists the EPL is open to the idea of a winter break and has explored potential options (TELEGRAPH, 10/15).
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