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" Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich kicks the ball during their Bundesliga match against RB Leipzig - their last match before the winter break - in Munich Zack Smith Youth Jersey , Germany on Wednesday. Photo: CFP
While football in most of Europe is hibernating, thousands of fans will fill terraces the length and breadth of England to watch the match while wearing Santa hats and repurpose Christmas carols into football chants. Despite nearly every league on the continent taking a break, football remains a key part of the festive calendar in England.

Even the Scottish top flight is taking a breather from its hectic schedule this season Tom Pyatt Youth Jersey , reintroducing the winter break after its hiatus since the 2002-03 campaign. The current campaign started earlier for many clubs so the respite will be welcomed by the players, while it also makes sense from the perspective of the inevitable inclement weather of a Scottish winter with postponed matches in December and January that become a fixture pileup in the spring. December 31 is the final day of games before they resume on January 28, ideal for a wee bit of team bonding Bobby Ryan Youth Jersey , friendly matches and warm weather training - both Celtic and Aberdeen are following in the footsteps of Barcelona and heading to Dubai for a training camp.

Germany leads the way when it comes to winter breaks: The -Bundesliga is on pause for 30 days, the final fixtures of the year were last Wednesday and the next ball will not be kicked in anger until January 20. France is not far behind (December 21 to January 14), Spain is taking off 18 days (December 19 - January 6) and Serie A finishes games this weekend until January 7.

It's a similar story elsewhere on the continent with the culture of splitting the season dominant in every league.

Festive frenzy

Meanwhile Kyle Turris Youth Jersey , players in the Premier League have a hectic schedule. There's a Boxing Day program that kicks off a frenzy of fixtures where everyone will play three games in the week after Christmas. With the FA Cup third round in the weekend after and a full fixture list on January 14 and January 21, Premiership players will have played six games while their German top-flight counterparts have been on hiatus, something that will come as a shock to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola in his first Christmas in England.

Why does English football continue to ignore the example set by the other European leagues? The first thing is tradition. Until the 1960-61 season matches were played on Christmas Day itself and games around Christmas and the New Year - including the FA Cup third round in the first weekend of January - have long been the standard. Meanwhile Chris Wideman Youth Jersey , festive fixtures are a key part of the calendar in the eyes of many fans, even if they are not the favorite of players - surely it is no coincidence that many footballers happen to be suspended over the holiday period.

More importantly is the current TV deal. While the Premier League continues to make overtures that they are willing to consider implementing a winter break if they can reach an agreement with both the Football Association and the Football League, they admit that nothing can be done until the current broadcast agreement expires in 2019 Dion Phaneuf Youth Jersey , while reports state that the FA Cup deal for overseas broadcast rights that only begins in 2018-19 means there can be no winter break until 2025.

Whenever it might happen, it stands to reason that a break makes sense. There are far too many fixtures postponed in the lower leagues because of the weather while travel can also be problematic. And then there are the football reasons of fewer games and less intensity but any change would need not only a shift in the English mind-set - an acceptance that mainland Europe might be right- but restructure of the game from the Premier League down.

If the top flight were to stay at 20 teams and 38 games then it would need to either start earlier than August or finish later than May, if not both. That's a problem with international football being played in the summer months Mike Condon Youth Jersey , so a winter break may necessitate the Premier League - and the bigger divisions below, who play a minimum of 46 league fixtures with the playoffs and a number of cups on top of that - be reduced to 18 or 16 teams and no club wants to be the unlucky team that ends up a tier below.

Summer seasons

Maybe a winter break is not the answer and something more revolutionary is the answer. How about the divisions remain the same but the fixture list shifts entirely? Rather than play August to May, English football could be February to November. That would result in far fewer postponements and games could be spread out during those months and a summer break could even be introduced to split the season and avoid burnout and hottest temperatures. Plenty of other countries consider soccer as a summer sport - the MLS and Australia's A-League - while others manage a summer break Mark Stone Youth Jersey , such as the Chinese Super League.

It's an idea that is already getting traction in youth football. How can players develop when keeping them warm comes at the expense of coaching? That's an argument echoed by ex-England international Danny Mills and Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers in recent months but this is not a new idea. Eric Bell, a youth teamer at Manchester United under Matt Busby who went on to play professionally in the 1950s for Bolton Wanderers, argued that England would never enjoy another success at international level until they switched to summer football.

The fortunes of the England national team are one of the arguments in favor of a winter break and while a move to summer football might be even more dramatic there is a chance it would have a longer term impact on the national team with better footballers developing. A shift to summer football would mean the conversation would move from calls for a winter break to the need for a summer break to take in the Euros and World Cup. Then People who tr.
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