Eriksson's winter break to be postponed for a year

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The Independent Football

Sven Goran Eriksson's plans for a winter break have been postponed by 12 months due to Fifa's decision to organise internationals over Easter next season.

There will be games on Saturday 26 March and Wednesday 30 March, and the dates have been set aside for England's home 2006 World Cup qualifiers against Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan. Those dates fall around the Easter weekend, meaning no top-flight domestic games can be played as so many players will be involved.

It also means that Eriksson's wish for a two-year trial of a two-week winter break has had to be pushed back as there isno way to fit a clear weekend into the 2004-05 season.

One manager to welcome the Easter international programme was the Bolton Wanderers manager, Sam Allardyce. "It will mean a respite from a hard winter period."

However, he added: "The Premier League chairmen would see the Easter weekend as a big revenue stream, like Christmas, where everyone turns out. I don't think they will be very happy."