Over the years, International football have been subject of intense debate. International friendlies have been criticized for being meaningless and only harming club football due to threat of injuries and player burnout. In order to change that, UEFA has decided to introduce a new tournament that is all set to change the landscape of International football for European nations. They call it the UEFA Nations League.
The proposal for this tournament was unanimously accepted by members at the UEFA congress held in Atlanta in March 2014. The UEFA nations league, whose first edition will take place in 2018-19 is a tournament that intends to complement the European Championship’s and its qualifiers and not replace them. It can be called the third major tournament for international teams to participate and stake their claim on.
The competition will see all 55 UEFA members competing, divided into 4 divisions. The splitting of teams in the first edition would be done according to the UEFA national team coefficient rankings (ranking as per 15 November 2017, i.e. conclusion of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers). There are 12 teams in League A, 12 teams in League B, 15 teams in League C, and 16 teams in League D. The group winners in Divsion A would be competing for the ultimate honour of being crowned champions of the UEFA nations league.
All the divisions will have four groups in them with A and B having groups of 3 each and the other two divisions would made of groups of 4 each. There would be four teams Relegated/Promoted from each division, that would decide how the divisions will be made up in the next edition.
This competition will also give nations a chance to qualify for the European Championships. From the 2020 edition, the normal qualifiers will determine 20 of the 24 teams participating in the marquee tournament with the Nations League determining the other 4 teams.
Each Nations League division will be allocated one of the four remaining UEFA Euro 2020 places. Four teams from each division which have not already qualified for the Euro finals will compete in the play-offs for each division, to be played in March of the year of the European championships.
The playoff berths will be first allocated to each pool winner, and if any of the pool winners have already qualified for the Euro finals, then to the next best-ranked team of the division.In case there are less than 4 teams who haven’t qualified for the competition in a division, the spot will be passed to the next division.
The first of the final four competition will be held in (to decide nation league champion ) will be held in June 2019 and the playoffs for qualification of Euros with the new system in March 2020. The nation’s league final Four will play in odd years and hence, in each year where there isn’t a world cup or Euros, there will be Nations League’s champion.