x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

David Gill: most Premier League clubs favour winter break

The chief executive of Manchester United believes that the majority of the Premier League's clubs are in favour of a winter break.

David Gill, the chief executive of Manchester United, says most Premier League clubs would welcome a winter break.
David Gill, the chief executive of Manchester United, says most Premier League clubs would welcome a winter break.

ABU DHABI // David Gill, the chief executive of Manchester United, believes that the majority of the Premier League's clubs are in favour of a winter break to put the country in line with the majority of top leagues around Europe.

The weeks around Christmas are the Premier League's busiest period — United played four games in 10 days. In contrast, Spain's Primera Liga and Italy's Serie A, among other leagues, enjoy two- or three-week breaks which allow them to benefit from warm weather training camps in places such as the UAE and Qatar, as well as playing money-spinning friendly game.

"We would like, and I think most of the Premier League club's would like to have a winter break. It would allow us to do some sort of training camp, but at the moment that is not within the schedule."

The hectic Premier League schedule, as well as the hot summer months, prevents United's first team from making an appearance in the UAE, as other top clubs from Europe such as AC Milan and SV Hamburg have.

"We played one game in Saudi three years ago, which was good for the team. Sir Alex Ferguson has been to Doha in Qatar to view the Aspire Academy," added Gill, who is also on the board of the English Football Association

"But the way the Premier League operates, we can only have one major tour in the season, which would be in July.

"What we don't have in the England at the moment is a winter break, unfortunately.

Gill is in Abu Dhabi to unveil plans to expand the 18-time English champions' presence in the captial with the launch of an extended Manchester United Soccer Schools programme at Dome.

"There's nothing in the schedule at the moment, but we wouldn't rule anything out in the future."

twoods@thenational.ae