Drinks breaks in games are likely to be scrapped in the new season

Drinks breaks during games are likely to be scrapped for the 2020/21 season.

By Dave Seddon
Thursday, 13th August 2020, 4:45 pm

When football restarted in June after the lockdown, a drinks break in both halves was introduced.

The thinking behind it was that players hadn’t had a long build-up to the resumption in terms of training.

Also, the weather was likely to be warmer with playing in June and July.

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Preston North End players with Alex Neil during one of the drinks breaks in the game against Luton at Kenilworth Road

While the players came to the sidelines for a drink, there was also the opportunity to spray the goalposts with disinfectant in line with safety protocol.

However, the drinks breaks became something of a frustration to managers, players and fans.

They often slowed the momentum of a game or altered the flow of one.

A team could have built a head of steam and be bossing a game, only for the drinks break to stop that in its tracks.

The goalposts are sprayed during a break in play at Deepdale

The opportunity for a slurp of water also became a chance for a manager to change tactics and rely those changes to his players – Brentford head coach Thomas Frank even got a tactics board out during some of the breaks.

It is understood that clubs in the EFL have expressed a desire to do away with the drinks break.

The EFL have their AGM next week and changes to rules such as this one, are expected to be voted on then.

Going back to June, the first weekend of the restart was accompanied by hot weather and the drinks break was a welcome one.

But from then on, the conditions weren’t exactly crying out for water breaks.

Preston manager Alex Neil noted that his side’s 3-1 defeat to Cardiff had been played in a ‘tsunami’, downpours happening during the game.

In early July, Neil questioned the need for the break in either half.

Neil said: “The water breaks are affecting the momentum of lot of games I have watched.

“I don’t think they are necessary in every game.

“If it is hot, yes by all means have the breaks but at the moment the weather is fluctuating.

“If a team is on top in a game the last thing they want is a break for the other team to regroup and fix what has been going wrong.

“We are playing four quarters because the water breaks don’t just last 10 seconds. Everyone gets their players in and have a little talk before sending them back out.”