The FA will block any attempts to reschedule postponed PL games during this month’s winter break.
The governing body were forced to scrap the break last year due to the compressed fixture list but fought hard for it to be re-introduced this season. As a result, there are no top-flight matches scheduled to take place between January 23 and February 7.
The postponement of 19 Premier League matches over the last month due to Covid outbreaks means some clubs now have multiple games in hand on their rivals.
The blank weekend on January 29-30 would be an obvious time on which to play. But the FA are reluctant to give ground as they want England’s players to be rested ahead of next winter’s World Cup in Qatar.
FA sources have pointed out that they have already shown flexibility by scrapping FA Cup third and fourth-round replays for the second successive season to free up two midweek dates.
The Premier League have no plans to use the winter break to clear the fixture backlog. But that could change if more games are postponed — or if some of this weekend’s FA Cup third-round ties are called off.
Four Premier League games have now been rearranged for the midweek nights of January 18 and 19.
But the FA have a prior claim on those dates if third-round matches are called off, so some may have to be moved again.