The regulation and format of the UEFA Nationals League has been approved by the UEFA Executive Committee in Nyon. Was is the motivation behind the new competition? How will it work and is this the end of friendlies? DFB.de investigates…
How has the UEFA Nations League come about?
The most recent changes to international football and the founding of the UEFA Nations League have been taken in response to the request of UEFA and the 55 national associations. Its goal is to improve the quality and significance of international football. Discussion and research started in 2011 after a UEFA strategy meeting in Cyprus and were carried forward through meetings of the Top Executive Program (TEP) over the following three years. The UEFA Nations League was then unanimously approved at the XXXVIII UEFA Congress in Astana on May 27th 2014.
What is the basic format of the competition?
The 55 national associations will be divided into four leagues, according to UEFA rankings, on October 11th 2017. League A will contain the best teams, League D the least strong.
• Leagues A and B will have four groups with three teams each
• League C will have one group with three teams and three groups with four teams
• League D will have four groups with four teams
When does the draw take place?
The draw for the league stage of the UEFA Nations League will take place on January 24th 2018 at the SwissTech Convention Centre in Lausanne. The cup will also be unveiled at the event.
Will teams get promoted and relegated?
Yes, the winners in Leagues B, C and D will get promoted and the bottom team in Leagues A, B and C will get relegated.
Will the winners of the four League A groups compete?
Yes, that will happen in June 2019. There will be two semi-finals, a final and a third-place playoff. One of the finalists will host the games. Who that is will be established by the UEFA Executive Committee in December 2018.
When will the UEFA Nations League take place?
The group stages will take place over six weeks in September, October and November 2018. There will be two games during each international break.
What impact will the Nations League have on European Cup qualification?
The pots for the next European qualifiers will be determined from the UEFA Nations League rankings. Out of the ten qualifying groups (five groups with five teams and five groups with six teams), the first two will qualify automatically and the four remaining spots will be allocated to the playoff winners of the European qualifiers, contested by the 16 group winners of the Nations League.
How exactly will the playoffs take place?
Twenty teams will qualify for the European Cup from the qualifiers. The UEFA Nations League gives teams an extra opportunity to qualify. Four teams will contest the playoffs, which will take place in March 2020.
Which teams will take part in the playoffs?
The 16 UEFA Nations League group winners. If a team has already qualified through the Euro qualifying matches, the spot will go to the next best team in the league. Each division in the Nations League (A, B, C and D) then determines another Euro participant through two semi-finals and a final, meaning smaller teams have a chance to qualify.
An overview of the Nations League matches and Euro qualifiers• The group stages of the UEFA Nations League take place over six matchdays in September, October and November 2018
What are the benefits for the fans?
There will be more important competitive fixtures for fans to follow. There is either a World Cup or a European Cup in every other year. Now there will be a UEFA Nations League every other year, too. In football, everything is about competition. In the future, it will be the same as club football: titles for national teams at the end of the match period.
Does this mean a greater load for players and clubs?
No. The UEFA Nations League games will be integrated with the European Cup qualifiers. UEFA attributes a lot of importance to a good balance between club and international football. This new competition could even reduce the load for players and clubs because it will pit teams of similar level against each other and cut down on travelling. Players will be able to get back to their clubs sooner than is the case now.
Is this about increasing revenue?
No, financial considerations are not the priority. We will be using the same marketing strategy that we have been so far in the European Cup qualifiers. This will offer national associations greater financial stability and allow them to plan ahead more effectively.
Will there still be friendlies?
There will be less time for friendlies, especially with the World Cup and European Cup in the foreground. All the same, UEFA will make sure European teams can continue playing friendlies against teams from other continents.