This morning, UEFA approved a new Nations League tournament that will replace many International friendly fixtures as of 2018 and give smaller European nations a greater chance of qualifying for Euro 2020.
How It Works?*
- It is a league system which is divided into four divisions, the top European nations will be in Group A and the nations with poorer co-efficients will be in Group D.
- Each division contains 12-14 teams and they will be further divided into 4 mini-leagues whereby 3 or 4 home and away matches will be played by each team in the same division. The winners of each mini-league will progress to their respective division's semi-finals at a neutral ground and each winner will be guaranteed a place at the EURO 2020 Tournament, therefore smaller nations in Division D will also be guaranteed a place at EURO 2020 .
- Winners of each division also seize the opportunity to be promoted to the next division and boost their co-efficients before the next Nations League, whereas the losers are relegated and will fall in co-efficients.
- The tournament itself will take place between September - November 2019 and the Final Four competition will be played sometime in 2019, whereas the initial group qualifiers for EURO 2020 take place between March - November 2019.
- The play-offs for EURO 2020 will take place in March 2020 and these will largely be shaped by the results of the Nations League in regards to the eligibility of teams who have and have not yet qualified.
Chairman of the UEFA's national teams competition committee, Wolfgang Niersbach, said, "This is a big step for national teams in Europe and we hope fans will support the new format."
This looks to be an exciting prospect with a reduction in meaningless friendlies having been transformed into a more sporting and competitive event and it also allows smaller nations to have a better chance of entering a prestigious tournament now the quota of teams has been increased from 16 to 24 teams as of EURO 2016.
Are you looking forward to this new format?
* Some aspects of the tournament such as the format are still under consideration and are subject to change up until the beginning of the Nations League.
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