UEFA Nations League

International football is set for a shake up in 2018 with the start of the Nations League to replace friendlies, which serve little purpose in today's game apart from generating money.



At the beginning of April UEFA outlined a plan they hope will change all that and make these friendlies meaningful. Quite frankly it's essential. Football clubs now have too much control. A player should be free to play for his country whenever he is chosen and not a great big negotiation about how long he can be allowed to play for or even refused permission.

Playing for your country is the pinnacle of the game and playing at a World Cup the ultimate. Fans may not think so but players quite rightly do. It is about time people had pride in their country and wanted the best players playing, not some third team ambling around.

If top clubs don't want their players playing international football then don't buy them, it's absurd that you buy an African and then try to convince him not to play in the Africa Cup of Nations because it's in January. You knew that before you bought him so stop whinging.

The new Nations League will be played on the dates for International friendlies and give some much needed meaning to these games and will run alongside the existing qualifying campaign for EURO 2020 on international fixture dates.

The 54 UEFA national teams will be split up into 4 divisions based on their UEFA ranking.

The 4 divisions will be split into 4 groups of 3 or 4 teams, who play each other home and away. These games replace the double header international friendlies in September, October and November.

The 4 group winners will then playoff for the Nations League, or for promotion to the next division in June the following year. These will comprise two one-off semi-finals and a one-off final.

The bottom placed team in each group will be relegated and the best 4 teams in each division who have not already qualified for Euro 2020 will play off for the final 4 places in the tournament.

Perhaps with tournament play instead of pointless friendlies we can see some proper football during the international break and it won't be such a boring waste of time. I applaud UEFA for at least trying to do something about it, whether the clubs like it or not.



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