SPFL looking into winter break

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A winter break could return to Scotland's top divisions, as the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) looks at how to improve their fixtures.

SPFL secretary Iain Blair explained that the governing body of Scotland's top four tiers wants to give players more time to recuperate, with international matches and European club competitions increasingly impeding their close-season breaks. 

With the matches in January and February regularly postponed due to adverse winter weather, the SPFL reckons a month's break could be the solution.

The Scottish Premier League - the predecessor to the Scottish Premiership - had a winter break in the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons.

"We're looking at the fixture issues to try and find ways in which we can make the best use of dates that are available," Blair was quoted as saying in various Scottish newspapers.

"We cannot lose sight of the key European dates and international dates we have to avoid, so that may lead us towards playing more games in the early summer than late summer, whether that's the League Cup in July or starting the League in July, and in order to ensure there is a decent break then we have to look at the possibility of a winter break.

"It is a debate which is underway at all levels in the game but there are no specific solutions at this point."

Many other European countries at a similar latitude to Scotland have some sort of winter break in their football seasons.

Sweden and Norway actually play calendar-year seasons, while the Danish Superliga starts in July and ends in June but has a break from early December to the start of February.

In Russia, the league begins in August and ends in May, with a three-month break starting in early December.