Why is Boxing Day a match day in the English Premier League?

My question sounds easy: why is Boxing Day used as a match day in the English Premier League (EPL)?

1 Answer

Boxing Day is celebrated on December 26, day after Christmas, as a national holiday in Great Britain. For general knowledge, Boxing Day gets its name from an old custom where the rich gave boxes of gifts to poor.

Having league games on Boxing Day is a long tradition in England, although as you said there are a lot of players (especially foreigners) who dislike the practice:

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.

But, in the end, football is for the fans (or that’s what I would like to think), and these Boxing Day League matches are a true celebration to all football fans, and lots of people go to Boxing Day matches with their families and friends.

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.

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.

Arsenal was supposed to play today against West Ham but it was cancelled due to a tube strike.

Source: About.com, “Boxing Day Soccer Tradition In England”.

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