Nations League: Uefa approve new 'third' tournament to replace most international friendlies from 2018

Format received unanimous support from Uefa's 54 members and will also see the introduction of promotion and relegation in international football

Uefa has approved the new Nations League tournament which will replace most international friendlies from 2018, the governing body has announced.

The new tournament, which will feature promotion and relegation and will allow an extra chance to qualify for European Championships, received unanimous support from UEFA's 54 member associations.

"We accept and respect that all UEFA member associations have agreed to create a new competition," said Wolfgang Niersbach, chairman of UEFA's national teams competition committee.

"This is a big step for national teams in Europe and we hope that fans will support the new format."

UEFA said the key driver behind the Nations League is "sporting integrity", saying there is an increasing feeling in the game that international friendlies do not provide adequate competition.

The governing body also believes the new tournament will help improve the quality and standing of international football, as it will allow all nations to play competitively at their level.

UEFA explained in a statement: "The Nations League and the Euro qualifiers will be linked, with the new competition allowing an extra chance to qualify for Euro final tournaments.

"The competition and proposed amended qualifying formats for the European qualifiers, starting with Euro 2020, came after a thorough consultation process with UEFA's member associations, which began in 2011."

The exact format of the Nations League has yet to be finalised and will be the subject of further discussions between the associations, but the concept is for the 54 national teams to be divided into four large divisions according to coefficient rankings.

The statement continued: "Prior to Euro 2020, each division will be sub-divided into four pools of three or four teams, so each team plays four to six matches between September and November 2018.

"The final four competition, involving the four pool group-winners of group A, will start in 2019, whereas play-offs for the Euros will then take place in March 2020.

"National teams will thus either be competing to become Nations League champions, or be fighting for promotion and to avoid relegation in their groups, as well as to qualify for Euro play-offs."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea