The Football Association has confirmed that a winter break will be introduced into English football for the first time from the 2019-20 season.
The break will be staggered across two weeks, with five matches on the first weekend and five the following weekend.
The FA Cup fifth round will be moved to midweek to accommodate the break, with replays being scrapped at that stage.
Martin Glenn, the FA chief executive, said: “This is a significant moment for English football and one that we believe will greatly benefit both club and country. It’s no secret that we have a very congested fixture calendar and over recent years we have been working with the whole game to find a solution.
“Today’s announcement proves that football can come together for the good of the game. We have also found a way to give the players a much needed mid-season break, whilst keeping the much-loved Christmas schedule in place. As we head into summer international tournaments in the future we are sure that this mid-season break will prove to be a valuable addition for our players.”
Richard Scudamore, the Premier League executive chairman, added: “We have been discussing the football calendar with The FA and EFL for several months, including ways we can work together to ease fixture congestion, keep the Premier League action going right through the season and provide a mid-season player break.
“We are very pleased to have an outcome that will include an exciting first for fans — a full fixture programme split over two weekends with all matches broadcast live in the UK.”
All three divisions of the English Football League (EFL) will remain unchanged, with a full programme of fixtures taking place on each of the weekends where there is a break.