The soccer news starts with reports that England's Premier League is considering a winter break as part of their next TV deal. BBC Sport's Dan Roan has the news that the league might take time off in January. That's the pragmatic response to the only top league in Europe where loading up on games around Christmas is a tradition.
Europe doesn't have a best practice when it comes to a winter break. Spain takes one, even though its temperate climate isn't normally an issue. So does Italy, though like the Netherlands they have no issues moving their break around. The Eredivisie played on Christmas Eve this season, starting their break later than usual.
Nothing changes until the next TV deal that starts with the 2019-20 season. That's bought the Premier League time to figure out what's important in the winder calendar. At least publicly, the Premier League is treating this as a fixture congestion issue. There's the obvious response that if this is about fixture congestion during the holidays, taking time off in January is an interesting fix. The Bundesliga has a lengthy winter break due to the weather. They also have an 18-team topflight and no league cup.
It's the insistence on tradition that pushes the problem for the Premier League. People wanting a crowded holiday schedule means broadcasters wanting that crowded holiday schedule. The lack of breaks in a successful Premier League team's calendar is a result of the league, two domestic cups, and European obligations.
Do we assume that the Premier League is keeping the same dates for the start and end of the season? Is the international calendar as we know it staying in place? If so, common sense would suggest that taking a break in January without a reduction in games won't help with fixture congestion.
ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle has the latest from the NASL's legal issues with the US Soccer Federation. The Kansas City Star's Sam McDowell tours the new national training center for Sporting Kansas City and US Soccer. CONCACAF.com talks to Seattle Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer about stressing the CONCACAF Champions League this season. Wired868's Lasana Liburd uses W Connection losing in the Caribbean Club Championship to make a bigger point about Trinidad & Tobago soccer.
Sky Sports reports that Antonio Conte will keep the Chelsea coaching job after losing 4-1 at Watford on Monday. The NY Times' Rory Smith explains why super clubs need local players. World Soccer's Paddy Agnew updates the situation in Serie A where it's Juventus trying to catch Napoli. Inside World Football's Paul Nicholson has Pepsi renewing for another three years as a Champions League sponsor.
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