The UEFA Nations League was unanimously adopted at the XXXVIII Ordinary UEFA Congress in Astana on 27 March 2014.
The motive behind it seems to have been a desire to pep up international football by removing many of the meaningless friendlies and replacing them with a new competitive format.
Much of the following is lifted straight from the UEFA website……….
Is this just about generating more revenue?
No, finances are not a driver for the new competition. However, the competition will have the same centralised media rights as have recently been introduced for all European Qualifiers so associations will have even more stability in their income.
Translation…….. no and yes
What is the basic format?
- The format of the UEFA Nations League features promotion and relegation. The 55 European national teams have been divided into four leagues in accordance with UEFA’s national association coefficient rankings on 11 October 2017.
- League A includes the top-ranked sides and League D includes the lowest:
Group A1: Germany, France, Netherlands
Group A2: Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland
Group A3: Portugal, Italy, Poland
Group A4: Spain, England, Croatia
- Teams have been split into four groups of three, with the group winners then contesting the UEFA Nations League Finals (semi-finals, third-place match and final) in June 2019 to become the UEFA Nations League winners. One host country will be appointed in December 2018 from among the finalist teams.
- The four teams that finish bottom of their groups will be relegated to League B for the 2020 edition.
- The top four ranked teams that do not qualify for UEFA EURO 2020 will enter a play-off in March 2020, with one finals place on offer.
Leagues B, C and D will be of similar format but feature the following teams………..
Group B1: Slovakia, Ukraine, Czech Republic
Group B2: Russia, Sweden, Turkey
Group B3: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland
Group B4: Wales, Republic of Ireland, Denmark
Group C1: Scotland, Albania, Israel
Group C2: Hungary, Greece, Finland, Estonia
Group C3: Slovenia, Norway, Bulgaria, Cyprus
Group C4: Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Lithuania
Group D1: Georgia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Andorra
Group D2: Belarus, Luxembourg, Moldova, San Marino
Group D3: Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands, Malta, Kosovo
Group D4: FYR Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar
- The UEFA Nations League group games are being held over six matchdays, during the ‘double-headers’ in September, October and November 2018. The UEFA Nations League Finals competition for the teams that win the four groups within the top division is scheduled for June 2019.
- For the UEFA Nations League Finals, the group winners of UEFA Nations League A will play in a knockout format (semi-finals, third-place match and final) in June 2019 to become the UEFA Nations League winners. One host country will be formally appointed by the UEFA Executive Committee in December 2018 from one of the nations competing in the final four. Italy, Poland and Portugal (all in Group A3) have expressed interest.
- The play-off matches will be staged in March 2020
Arsenal players involved in the UEFA Nations League over the next few days…………….
Sokratis has been included in Greece’s squad for their UEFA Nations League opening matches against Estonia on September 8 and Hungary on September 11.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been called up to the Armenia squad for their UEFA Nations League games against Liechtenstein on September 6 and Macedonia on September 9.
Aaron Ramsey has been named in Wales’ squad for their UEFA Nations League matches against Republic of Ireland on September 6 and Denmark on September 9.
Swiss players Stephan Lichtsteiner and Granit Xhaka have been called up for their UEFA Nations League clash with Iceland on September 8 and their international friendly against England on September 11.
Danny Welbeck was called up to the England squad where they face Spain in their UEFA Nations League opener on September 8.
Other Arsenal players involved in interlull games………….
Mohamed Elneny has been selected in Egypt’s 28-man squad for their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Niger on September 8.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will captain Gabon in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Burundi on September 8.
Lucas Torreira has been included in Uruguay’s squad for their international friendly against Mexico on September 8.
Let’s hope they all come back safe.