UEFA and its 54 member associations have unanimously decided at the XXXVIII Ordinary UEFA Congress in Astana to launch the UEFA Nations League from 2018.
The UEFA Nations League will be a competition featuring promotion and relegation for national teams and it will replace most international friendlies for European national teams.
“The exact format of the UEFA Nations League has not been finalised and will be the subject of further discussions between the UEFA member associations but the concept is for the 54 teams to be divided into four large groups according to coefficient rankings,” the UEFA stated on its website.
“Teams compete to be promoted to a higher group or to become the UEFA Nations League champions and to qualify for EURO play-offs.”
“Prior to UEFA EURO 2020, each group will be divided into four pools of three or four teams so each team will play four to six matches between September and November 2018.”
“The final four competitions, involving the four pool group winners of group A, will start in 2019, whereas play-offs for the UEFA EURO will then take place in March 2020. National teams will thus either be competing to become UEFA Nations League champions or be fighting for promotion and to avoid relegation in their groups, as well as to qualify for the EURO play-offs.”
“In addition, the competition will help UEFA realise its stated goal of improving the quality and standing of national team football while maintaining the balance between club and international football.”
“The competition will establish the UEFA Nations League champions every odd year while also allowing all nations to play competitively at their level,” the release on uefa.com continues.
“Qualifying for a UEFA European Championship remains largely the same although qualifying will now begin in the March following a major tournament instead of immediately in September, with four teams qualifying for each final tournament via the UEFA Nations League.”