UEFA confirms Nations League format

11 Oct 2017

Pots for the UEFA Nations League, a new national teams competition, have been confirmed by UEFA, with four leagues based on the 55 European member associations co-efficient rankings.

England will be in League A, which features 12 teams, alongside the likes of Germany, Spain, France and Belgium. Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland will be in League B (also 12 teams) with the likes of Demark, Sweden and Russia. 

League C features 15 teams, and League D includes 16 teams, to complete the line-up.

Each league will then be split into three or four groups, with the group winners promoted and the bottom four teams relegated for the next competition in 2020.

The winners of the four groups in League A will contest the Nations League Finals competition in June 2019, hosted by one of the four countries involved, which will be selected by the UEFA Executive Committee.

Played every two years – in between UEFA European Championships and FIFA World Cups – the UEFA Nations League will take place for the first time during the 2018/19 football season.

The Nations League group games will be held over six matchdays, during the 'double-headers' in September, October and November 2018, replacing the traditional international break windows.

The inaugural competition, which starts in September 2018, will also provide four qualifying spots for Euro 2020, with UEFA suggesting the new format will "create more meaningful and competitive matches for teams and a dedicated calendar and structure for national team football."

The new format will also mean that lower-tier countries – comprising of the bottom 16 in the rankings - will now be guaranteed one of the 24 qualifying slots for the European Championship finals.

For the separate Euro 2020 qualification campaign, the top two in each of the qualifying groups will qualify automatically, as normal, with the remaining four spots going to the winners of the four play-offs from the Nations League, comprising of the 16 group winners of the new competition. If a group winner has already qualified via the European qualifiers, then their spot will go to the next best-ranked team in their league.

Media rights will be centrally marketed, with Sky Sports securing the rights to host each England match.

"Showing England in competitive matches exclusively live for the first time in seven years is great news for our viewers with the UEFA Nations League putting the top nations against each other regularly," said Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports.