Major Premier League rule change will affect Newcastle United amid injury crisis

Newcastle United have endured a torrid season of fitness issues among the squad.
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The Premier League has confirmed its decision to scrap the mid-season break in favour of a later start to the campaign in a bid to ease injury woes.

Winter breaks have been part of the Premier League schedule since 2018, with a week of fixtures split into two, allowing every team a fortnight off while still having matches to broadcast. But the ever-growing demand has seen incidences of injury increase, with players and managers vocal in their concern.

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Newcastle United have been among a number of teams to suffer with a huge influx of fitness issues among the playing squad, losing players to injury on more than 30 occasions for a total of over 1,500 days. Unprecedented numbers are being recorded across the league as well, with the decision now taken to change the schedule in a bid to ease pressure.

A Premier League statement read: “The mid-season break is removed from the calendar to allow a mid-August start date for the Premier League.

“This longer summer break allows all Premier League clubs to be better able to ensure that players get a consecutive three-week break in the summer. This takes into account expert advice from medical and technical departments, which values a longer period of complete rest in the summer rather than a short break in the winter.”

The past 18 months has seen unprecedented demand placed on players, with last season’s 2022 World Cup coming in the middle of domestic campaigns and summer internationals meaning some players did not have enough of a break. Eddie Howe’s side have been the worst affected top-flight team but internal investigations have also been commissioned at Brentford and Manchester United.

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Newcastle are without Jamaal Lascelles and Sven Botman for the remainder of the season, with both suffering serious knee issues - Botman is in his second long-term period of absence already in the past 12 months. Matt Targett, Nick Pope, Harvey Barnes and Elliot Anderson have all missed large parts of the season through injury, among others.

This summer’s European Championships in Germany will run into mid-July, with the 2024 Olympics also placing further potential demand on players who are selected. The current Premier League campaign began on Friday, August 11 with the Community Shield taking the place the prior weekend.