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Boxing Day Soccer Tradition In England

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English soccer has long had the tradition of playing league matches on December 26th.

Boxing Day gets its name from an old custom where the rich gave boxes of gifts to the poor.

When the fixtures are released in the summer, fans are eager to see who their side are playing, as it is often an occasion when the entire family go to a match.

In most countries, there is a winter break of at least a week (Germany have six), but in England matches are played throughout the festive period.

Matches are traditionally played against local rivals or teams within a close proximity of each other so as to avoid supporters having to travel a long distance after Christmas Day and when the train timetables are reduced.

Some foreign players in the Premier League bemoan the hardship of playing over the Christmas period, while others accept that it is part of the English tradition and relish the intense fixture list that can take in three Premier League games and an FA Cup third-round tie.

There have been calls for a winter break to be introduced in England as many argue that players suffer from fatigue and need a break in order to be fresh in the second half of the season.

Boxing Day matches also occur in the Scottish Premier League.

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