SPFL considers winter break for season 2016-17

Snow on a football net
Scottish football had a winter break for two seasons

Scottish football could reinstate a winter break in time for the 2016-17 season.

A Scottish Professional Football League working party is examining the possibility.

SPFL secretary Iain Blair said: "It is a debate which is under way at all levels within the game, but there are no specific solutions at this point."

The old Scottish Premier League had a winter break from 1998-99, but this was scrapped in 2002-2003.

However, with Aberdeen and St Johnstone now having to play the opening matches of the Europa League qualifiers this week, the issue has raised its head once more.

The introduction of the Uefa Nations Cup in 2018 will also mean more internationals being played in June.

Support for a change in the football calendar was shown by a BBC Scotland survey earlier this month, when 10 out of the 12 Premiership clubs and 28 of the 42 throughout Scotland said they would consider supporting a switch to summer football.

Celtic captain Scott Brown and manager Ronny Deila in Gran Canaria
Celtic had their own short sunshine break in Gran Canaria in January

It would appear that the SPFL working party is now considering a shutdown during January.

"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," added Blair.

"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."

Sitting alongside Blair on the working party are chief executive Neil Doncaster, Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell, Annan Athletic chairman Henry McClelland, Spartans chairman Craig Graham and Scottish FA director of football governance Andrew McKinlay.

Lawwell's club have in recent seasons taken up the option to have their own two-week sunshine break during January.

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