Venables favours break

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The Independent Online
Terry Venables is to ask the Football Association to push for a winter break in English football.

The national coach, speaking exclusively to Independent, said he wanted the season to take a breather in January and believed it would benefit everybody in the game. The plan would mean extending the season for two weeks at its start and finish.

Venables said: "A break is a must. Not just for the weather but for the players, spectators, coaches and media. I think it would be wonderful for everybody.

"I think it would be good for players to get a break. Now, as teams get to the bottom of the League and get a bit tired, they are slugging it out, there are not so many games as good as there were earlier. I think a break could bring a fresh approach with coaches having a chance to look at what they are doing.

"Most of all," Venables added, " it would help supporters. It is testing on the pocket after Christmas. They have spent a lot of money. A month off would give people a chance to get their finances in order.

"Football is very expensive now. Perhaps not in pro-rata terms but the ordinary man does not necessarily want to go to the theatre, which is the common analogy. After Christmas a lot of people pick and choose matches. I think after a month they would be bursting to get back."

The move would also benefit England as, said Venables, there would be more of an opportunity for get-togethers without affecting clubs.

The argument against a break has always been from clubs who fear, given the unpredictability of English weather, that they would be without gate receipts for a month and then might have games postponed.

"But," said Venables. "I think clubs would like it, they won't lose the games, they are more likely to have better crowds if those games are played in better weather at either end of the season."

Venables' next move is to discuss the idea with the Football Association's International Committee and the newly created Technical Control Board. Then he has to persuade the clubs.

Venables, whose views carry considerable weight at the FA, added: "They are all doing it now, more and more countries. It makes sense."

For football, maybe.But the cricket world would not be too pleased.