Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

UEFA Nations League: What is it, when does it start, and who will play?

Posted on 2 October 2017 by José Bourbon

The UEFA Nations League is a new competition officially confirmed by the governing body of European football last Wednesday, 20th September. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about this new tournament.

When does it start?

September 6th, 2018.

Who will play?

55 European national teams.

How does it work?

The competition is split into four Leagues: A, B, C and D. The top-twelve ranked national teams classified by UEFA’s rankings in October will be put into League A, the following twelve into League B, the next fifteen into League C  and the last 16 into League D.

Leagues A and B will be split into four groups, each with three teams who will play against each other, home and away, between September and November 2018.

The winners of each group qualify for the final phase: the semi-finals (including a third-place play-off) – this final phase will take place in June, 2019.

Where will the final phase be?

We don’t know yet. It will be decided in December 2018

Can teams in the B, C and D Leagues reach League A?

Yes. The winners of Leagues B, C and D will rise to the League immediately above, whilst the bottom-placed side in each League will be relegated.

Where and when will the draw take place?

Lausanne, Switzerland, January 24th next year.

By playing in the Nations League can national teams qualify for other competitions?

Yes. The League of Nations gives national teams the chance to fight for a place in Euro 2020. The winners of each group (in each League) qualify for the playoffs and in the case that they have already qualified, that playoff position will be awarded to the team that finishes in second place, and so on. If a League does not have at least four teams competing in this playoff, the remaining places will be awarded to teams from other Leagues, according to the the overall UEFA Nations League ranking.

Furthermore, the winners of each league final have direct access to Euro 2020.