UEFA decided that in 2018 their would be a new competition launched as the UEFA Nations League where teams would be split into 4 separate leagues. A, B, C and D. Based on World Rankings. Then split further down into groups of 3 teams per group, with some groups having 4 teams in the mix. After playing each team twice, teams will then be promoted or relegated from their leagues.
The competition is well and truly underway with a couple of games already been played. Many are still to be convinced. Every even numbered year, the matches will be played from September to November. Which would be the group stages. For every odd numbered year, the matches will be played in June for the Finals of League A where a Nations League champion will be crowned.
Does the UEFA Nations League have a valid reason for being a part of the footballing calendar or is the whole tournament as pointless as many believe it to be?
The main factor behind the creation of this newly found competition was to eliminate what many believed to be meaningless and pointless international friendlies. Fans were always vocal in their opinions against international friendlies with many suggesting that it disrupts club football.
Whereas fans enjoy to watch major tournaments such as the World Cup due to this being played every 4 years during the summer time after the club season has finished. Managers are also known to show frustrations with the international break due to key players being called up to play in 'nothing' games only to be injured while out on international duty which could affect their club teams.
Even with the reason being made clear that the whole point of the competition being created to prevent pointless and meaningless friendlies being played, we are still seeing international friendlies being played during the club season inbetween Qualifiers and the Nations League. Could just be due to this being a newly introduced competition but if that is the reason for it being created it will need addressing.
Despite all the negativity surrounding the Nations League, some have found a positive to take from this competition. The positive being that teams who don't qualify for the Euro's in qualifiers may be given the chance to qualify for the tournament through the Nations League. Which would make for a lower ranked team being able to compete in a major tournament where before they wouldn't of thought possible. Also partly due to the Euro's increasing the number of teams that will be competing at the tournament.
Many still argue against this one and only positive about the Nations League by stating that 'weaker' teams should not be allowed to qualify for major tournaments if they don't make it through the usual route of the qualifiers. After all, that is the whole reason for having qualifiers for teams to compete for a place in a major tournament.
Rather than eliminating 'meaningless' international friendlies, have UEFA added more 'pointless' matches by introducing the Nations League during the footballing calendar which already seems to be mounting up and disrupting club seasons?
If 'weaker' teams are being allowed a route to major tournaments through this newly formed tournament, maybe it just needs reformatting as a qualifier itself making higher ranked teams play each other for the right to be in tournaments?
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