UEFA Nations League

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UEFA Nations League
UEFA Nations League.svg
Founded 2018
Region Europe (UEFA)
Number of teams 55
Website Official website
2018–19 UEFA Nations League

The UEFA Nations League[1] is an international association football competition to be contested by the senior men's national teams of the member associations of UEFA, the sport's European governing body. The first tournament is due to commence in September 2018, after the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the winner will be decided in June 2019. The competition will largely replace international friendly matches currently played on the FIFA International Match Calendar.[2]

Adoption

In October 2013, Norwegian Football Association President Yngve Hallén confirmed that talks had been held to create a third full national-team international tournament for UEFA members but warned that it was only at the design stage.[3]

The concept of the UEFA Nations League would see all 55 of UEFA's members associations' national teams divided into a series of groups based upon a ranking formulated using their recent results, where they would be promoted and relegated to other groups according to their results within the group.[4] The proposed tournament would take place on dates on the International match calendar that are currently allocated for international friendlies and would not affect the FIFA World Cup or UEFA European Championship.[5]

In March 2014, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino stated that one of the benefits of the proposal would be to help less glamorous national associations arrange games.[5] The Football Association's chairman Greg Dyke said that the proposal is "very attractive", as England would be expected to play against top-ranking national teams.[5] Royal Belgian Football Association's general secretary Steven Martens said that lower-ranked nations would still benefit financially from the competition, as the television contract with UEFA would be centralised.[6]

The UEFA Nations League was unanimously adopted by the 54 UEFA member associations (Kosovo was not a member at this time) at the XXXVIII Ordinary UEFA Congress in Astana on 27 March 2014.[1]

Format

According to the approved format (prior to Kosovo becoming UEFA member),[1][7][8] the now 55 UEFA national teams (including Kosovo) will be divided into four divisions (called "Leagues"):[9][10] 12 teams in League A, 12 teams in League B, 15 teams in League C, and 16 teams in League D. In each division, four groups are formed (three or four teams in each group) and play each other both home and away.

In the top division League A, each winner of the four groups go on to play in the Nations League Finals, with two semi-finals and one final to decide which team becomes the UEFA Nations League champion.

Teams can also be promoted and relegated to a higher or lower division. Each group winner (there are four groups in each division) is automatically promoted to the next higher division for the next tournament. Each team placing last in its group is automatically relegated to the next lower division.

UEFA European Championship link

The UEFA Nations League will be linked with the UEFA European Championship qualifying, providing teams another chance to qualify for the UEFA European Championship.

In addition to the Nations League Finals of League A, there will be four play-offs with a similar format. Each group winner takes a spot in the semi-finals. If the group winner is already one of 20 qualified teams, rankings will be used to give the play-off spot to another team of the league. If less than four teams in the entire League remain unqualified, play-off spots for that league are given to teams of the next-lower league. This determines the four remaining qualifying spots for the European Championship (out of 24 total).[9][10][11]

FIFA World Cup link

The Nations League may also be linked with UEFA's future World Cup qualifications for the same purpose, possibly using the top two divisions.[12]

Criticism

The format was criticised for allegedly allowing weaker teams to qualify through the Nations League to compete in the European Championship finals, instead of qualifying through the standard qualification process.[13]

Seasons

Each season of the UEFA Nations League will be played from September to November of an even-numbered year (pool stage), and June of the following odd-numbered year (Nations League Finals of League A), meaning a UEFA Nations League champion will be crowned every two years.[9][10][11]

Results of Nations League Finals

Season Host Final Third place play-off
Winner Score Runner-up Third place Score Fourth place
2018–19 TBD

Team performances by season

  • Rise Promoted
  • Same position No movement
  • Fall Relegated
Team 2018–19
LG RK P/R
 Albania C
 Andorra D
 Armenia D
 Austria B
 Azerbaijan D
 Belarus D
 Belgium A
 Bosnia and Herzegovina B
 Bulgaria C
 Croatia A
 Cyprus C
 Czech Republic B
 Denmark B
 England A
 Estonia C
 Faroe Islands D
 Finland C
 France A
 Georgia D
 Germany A
 Gibraltar D
 Greece C
 Hungary C
 Iceland A
 Israel C
 Italy A
 Kazakhstan D
 Kosovo D
 Latvia D
 Liechtenstein D
 Lithuania C
 Luxembourg D
 Macedonia D
 Malta D
 Moldova D
 Montenegro C
 Netherlands A
 Northern Ireland B
 Norway C
 Poland A
 Portugal A
 Republic of Ireland B
 Romania C
 Russia B
 San Marino D
 Scotland C
 Serbia C
 Slovakia B
 Slovenia C
 Spain A
 Sweden B
  Switzerland A
 Turkey B
 Ukraine B
 Wales B

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "UEFA Nations League receives associations' green light". UEFA.org. 27 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Rumsby, Ben (25 March 2014). "England ready to play in new Nations League as revolutionary UEFA plan earns unanimous backing". The Telegraph. The Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Hojem Kvam, Lars (9 October 2013). "Hva om Ronaldo, Özil, Balotelli og Pique møtes til ligaspill – med sine landslag?" (in Norwegian). dagbladet.no. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Gibson, Owen (10 October 2013). "Uefa explores internationals shake-up with Nations League plan". TheGuardian.com. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c "Nations League: New European tournament to be confirmed". BBC Sport. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "Nations League moet nieuwe mijlpaal in Europese voetbal worden" (in Dutch). zita.be. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "UEFA Nations League: all you need to know". UEFA.com. 27 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "UEFA Nations League/UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying" (PDF). UEFA.com. 
  9. ^ a b c "UEFA Nations League format and schedule approved". UEFA.com. 4 December 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c "UEFA Nations League format and schedule confirmed". UEFA.org. 4 December 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "UEFA Nations League and European Qualifiers competition format, 2018–2020" (PDF). UEFA.com. 
  12. ^ "UEFA's new 'League of Nations' – Do you understand it?". CNN. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  13. ^ Dunbar, Graham (24 March 2017). "As World Cup hope fades, Europeans turn to Nations League". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 

External links

  • Official website
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