A winter break could be introduced into the Premier League and EFL calendar from the 2019/2020 season.
Sunderland played a sixth of their games over a 21-day period during the festive schedule, so hectic is the current schedule from late-December through until early-January.
It was during this period that Darron Gibson was injured, with manager Chris Coleman conceding his squad was struggling to cope with the fixture congestion.
Managers such as Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp have repeatedly called for a winter break to be introduced in England – Germany, France, Spain and Italy all enjoy time off mid-season.
According to the BBC, the Premier League and EFL are considering a winter break, with the prospect of such a hiatus from football referenced in the tender documents sent to broadcasters who can bid for the next TV rights deal for 2019-2022.
It is claimed that “constructive” talks have taken place over the last few months between the Premier League, the EFL, the Football Association and top-flight clubs over plans to introduce a winter break.
January is named as the preferred month for the likely two-week winter break in order to preserve the traditional festive football schedule in England.
In a statement, the Premier League said: “The Premier League has been in discussions with the FA and EFL for several months regarding the challenges of the increasingly-congested English football calendar and ways in which we can work together to ease fixture congestion while also giving players a mid-season break.
“Provided space can be found in the calendar, we are open to this in principle and will continue constructive discussions with our football stakeholders to seek a workable solution.”