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UEFA approve ‘Nations League’, competition set to launch in 2018

Mar 27, 2014, 8:10 AM EST

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Beginning in 2018 and for every two years thereafter, 54 European countries will split into four divisions and compete in a competition called the ‘Nations League’.

The new tournament, which was approved by UEFA’s 54 member associations on Thursday after 18 months of discussions, will replace the majority of international friendlies and serve as the means by which European nations qualify for the European Championship.

“We accept and respect that all UEFA member associations have agreed to create a new competition,” said Wolfgang Niersbach, chairman of the National Teams Competition Committee. “This is a big step for national teams in Europe and we hope that fans will support the format.”

UEFA president Michel Platini has billed the new competitions as a replacement for the friendly matches that “nobody wants”.

“The friendlies don’t really interest anybody – neither the fans nor the players nor the media and nor the national associations. This is a good decision because nobody wants these friendlies.”

  1. nextmanup81 - Mar 27, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    Does this mean no more friendly matches between European and North/South American or Asian teams?

    • bostonredsoccer - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      Only the Euro teams that get knocked out of the competition. (Though they have said there will be some dates that are simply friendlies and not competition).

  2. ws0001 - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    It is a bad idea. First off, allowing a team from the group with the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, San Marino, Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Malta, and Andorra in the 2020 Euros is simply going to move a few of the uncomfortable and unwatchable matches from qualifying to the main tournament. Second, after this league plays out and the remaining 20 slots in the Euros takes place, don’t the four teams with a spot go play friendlies while the others play for their qualification?

  3. patriotsdefense - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    So if a European team is very good, you can basically say goodbye to USA friendlies with Germany, Italy, England, and Spain? That’s awful. Brazil and Mexico and Argentina are getting royally screwed too.

    I hate when European football runs wild with that “screw the Americas” theme. This feels like massive exclusion on team building, which is basically what friendlies are: glorified practice where it matters 10 fold more to the players than fans, like spring training baseball games. This will hurt future development for the US soccer, imo.

    • chunkala - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:47 AM

      That sucks for sure, but they can play with whom they choose, no?
      You can’t force them to play the Americas.

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