UEFA Approves Launch of Nations League Tournament

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2014

Spain's David Silva, right, celebrates flanked by his teammate Alvaro Arbeloa after scoring during the Euro 2012 soccer championship final  between Spain and Italy in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, July 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Updates from Thursday, March 27

UEFA announced early on Thursday its approval for the proposed Nations League, as reported by Sky Sports News:

 

Original Text

With the World Cup and European Championship already in place, European football is on the brink of creating a third major tournament known as the "League of Nations."

According to BBC, the new tournament would reportedly be played during odd-numbered years following the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Matches are expected to be held during periods in which friendlies are usually contested.    

Although the exact parameters of the tournament have yet to be announced, it would reportedly entail four divisions with promotion and relegation playing a role.

Also, per Bryan Swanson of Sky Sports, it is expected that European clubs will be able to earn places in the European Championship and even the World Cup based on their Nations League performance.

According to BBC, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino believes that such a tournament would make it easier for teams to get desired matchups rather than missing out on friendlies due to myriad circumstances:

We have been looking at optimizing the structure of the calendar without bringing in any more dates. There are teams everyone wants to play against and other teams who struggle to get the opponents they'd ideally like. For all national associations, the fact is that national team matches are key for their development.

While UEFA is seemingly aiming to keep a good balance between club and country, Jason Davis of ESPN FC can see further issues arising in terms of club teams wanting to protect their players:

Although there could very well be some pitfalls involved, it shouldn't be a major problem as long as UEFA commits to keeping the international schedule the same.

If a number of dates are added, then club teams will have a reason to gripe. Otherwise, there is no indication that the League of Nations will deviate from the norm.

The true beneficiaries of a Nations League tournament would be the middling and lower-level European teams since it would provide them with a higher level of competition than they are usually able to face.

Also, many of them fail to qualify for the World Cup and European Championship, so the Nations League will give their fans something to follow.

There are obviously some bugs that need to be worked out between now and the Nations League's seemingly inevitable implementation, but it is definitely an exciting time to be a European football fan.

 

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