Premier League blames UEFA for fixture congestion
The Premier League's chief executive blamed UEFA and FIFA on Tuesday for creating the packed soccer calendar that prevents it from introducing a winter break.
Demands for Premier League players to be given a midseason rest like in Spain, Italy and Germany intensified after England coach Fabio Capello blamed his team's second-round exit from the World Cup on the squad arriving in South Africa too tired after the grueling domestic campaign.
All of England's regulars play in the country's top division.
''When you are looking at fixture congestion then I am afraid we have to look at our friends at UEFA and FIFA as more the culprits than ourselves,'' Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said. ''UEFA used to have in the season we started in 1992-93 13 match dates - now they need 21 match dates to fulfill their fixtures.
''And FIFA were traditionally nine or 10 international dates and that's now averaging 12. So the difficulty is that somebody has to give something up.''
Scudamore told the Culture, Media and Sport Committee that the number of matches in the top division had dropped in the last 20 years, while there are fewer FA Cup and League Cup replays.
''We put on 380 events and those events are watched around the world and are extremely popular events,'' Scudamore said. ''If you took two teams out ... you go down to 306 events and there is no way you would do that in terms of public interest and fan interest.''
Scudamore said attempts to introduce a winter break had ''failed because it is just hard to come up with a practical suggestion.''