Mar 27, 2014, 8:10 AM EST
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.”
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