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No more friendlies? What would UEFA “nations league” proposal mean for CONCACAF, world?

Mar 2, 2014, 4:09 PM EDT

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England may be on board with Michael Platini’s idea of an international super league, which would essentially kick international friendlies directly in some very tender spots.

Platini bandied about the idea of a 54-country UEFA super tournament to be held during international friendly dates, that would feature all the buzz words of club football including promotion and relegation between division. There would also be the opportunity to win wild card spots in the European Cup in addition to prize money.

And FA chairman Greg Dyke is ready to talk about it.

“I think it principle it is quite interesting,” he said. “I think the hard thing about that is the detail but I think a nations league where we played the top nations would be very attractive, yes.”

There are myriad points of interest in the discussion, and many would raise questions for the United States and other countries outside of UEFA. Obviously, there would be less opportunities for the US to test its mettle against European superpowers, but the questions go beyond that. Let’s just spitball some very early theoreticals:

1) Would the CONCACAF and CONMEBOL follow suit with a super league of its own? Imagine a match between the US and Chile, or Mexico and Argentina, to see who stays in the first division and who is forced to drop into a minnows division?

2) Would players like Julian Green and Gedion Zelalem be tilted toward choosing a UEFA nation over the United States due to an expanded player pool for more intense competitions?

3) Internationally, would less players get looks at impacting their national team side due to the increased monetary value and status symbology of the new tournament?

4) If it happened in the US, would less MLS players get less looks… or more chances due to the travel between continents? Could it make playing domestically more attractive?

5) How would it impact World Cup and Euro Cup qualifying?

UEFA is proposing the competition begin after the 2018 World Cup in Russia. This could get nuts… and awesome.

  1. udosean - Mar 2, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Wouldnt work. Managers would then be more focused on results instead of developing the player pool. No friendlies means less opportunities to bleed in young internationals

    • jdfsquared - Mar 2, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      With all due respect, I think friendlies are the right way to develop the player pool…until they’re not. Aside from preseason, club teams find ways to bring in new talent during competition. In fact, that becomes part of the competition.

      I think this is an intriguing proposition, and one that could make the US better by consistently playing South American teams in real competition. And perhaps give a growing domestic fan base a reason to watch more than every other year.

  2. dfstell - Mar 2, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    I like it. The devil will be in the details, but I generally like the idea of having there be MORE meaningful international matches. I mean, it’s silly that after the World Cup the US won’t play a real international game for a year or so. The ratio of truly competitive matches to friendlies is just out of whack right now. I’d like to see the ratio be more like 1:1.

  3. lavatomy - Mar 3, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    USA consistently playing against strong teams outside of CONCACAF in an actual competition and not just friendlies?? Nice!

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