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Premier League in ongoing talks about winter break

The Premier League has reiterated its willingness to consider a winter break. Credit: PA

The Premier League has reiterated its willingness to consider a winter break.

The Times reported that an agreement has been reached between the Premier League, the Football Association and the Football League for an annual break in early February from the 2019/2020 season by playing FA Cup fifth-round fixtures midweek, and without replays.

Premier League fixtures would then be scheduled across two weekends so each team is given a break of at least 13 days, but without the competition entirely halting.

Any such break would not take place in the Championship, League One, or League Two, because of the 46-fixture schedule that applies.

Press Association Sport understands that the FA remains in discussions over a potential break, which the organisation has long been open to.

The Premier League also said in a statement: "Provided space can be found in the calendar, we are open to (a mid-season break) in principle and will continue constructive discussions with our football stakeholders to seek a workable solution."

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Charity: Rising winter deaths cause for 'national shame'

Charity Age UK has said that the ONS figures on rising winter deaths should be cause for "national shame" because of a "failure to address the scandal of cold homes" in the UK.

It should be a cause of national shame that last year’s cold weather claimed so many lives unnecessarily. Excess winter deaths are preventable and today’s figures are a damning indictment of our failure to address the scandal of cold homes in this country.

Cold homes are caused by a number of factors including poor insulation and high energy costs, and are a major cause of excess winter deaths.1 In fact those living in the coldest homes are three times more likely to die a preventable death than those living in warmer ones.

– Age UK’s Charity Director, Caroline Abrahams,

Majority of winter deaths among pensioners

The majority of winter deaths reported by the ONS were among pensioners with over-75s accounting for 25,600 winter-related deaths in 2012/13.

Deaths peaked in the first week of January. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Deaths were highest in the North West in 2012/13 and lowest in London.

"The number of deaths peaked in the first week of January, which coincided with a peak in rates of influenza-like illness over the Christmas weeks," the ONS report said.

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