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UEFA confirm Nations League
Mar 27, 2014 4:09 PM GMT
UEFA has confirmed the creation of the Nations League, which will be brought in as a replacement for the majority of friendlies from 2018.
The division is designed to supersede most existing international friendly dates on the football calendar, and will feature promotion and relegation from groups.
While the exact format is yet to be decided, it was announced on Thursday that UEFA's member associations voted to bring in a league that will be linked with qualifiers for, and places at, UEFA European Championships.
All 54 national members of the governing body will initially be divided into four divisions based on their co-efficient rankings.
Then, ahead of Euro 2020, those leagues will be split into four pools of three or four teams, with countries playing four to six matches between September and November 2018.
The final four competition will then see the four winners of the top pools, Group A, meet in games during 2019 while the play-offs for Euro 2020 will then take place in March of that year.
The move is designed to bring in a more competitive structure to international games, with teams able to be crowned champions while also battling for promotion and against relegation.
In a statement, UEFA revealed they had been approached by member nations over the possibility of finding an alternative format for international football, with Wolfgang Niersbach, chairman of the National Teams Competition Committee and president of the German Football Association, urging fans to back the competition.
"We accept and respect that all UEFA member associations have agreed to create a new competition," he said.
"This is a big step for national teams in Europe and we hope that fans will support the new format."