CONCACAF Approves The Totally Cool League Of Nations
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CONCACAF officially approved the CONCACAF League of Nations on Thursday, setting up a cool new competition for the 41 national teams in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The League of Nations, which follows the lead of UEFA, is designed to provide quality, meaningful competition for all teams across the spectrum. Schedule and structural details will be announced in early 2018.
UEFA is set to begin play in its Nations League in September of 2018 and earlier this month proposed a Global Nations League for other confederations to follow suit and join together in one overarching league. Apparently CONCACAF was already considering such a league as the CONCACAF League of Nations has had a yearlong development and consultation process.
The League of Nations will consist of three leagues, with seeding matches to begin in September 2018 to help determine where each country will land. The league will include home-and-away series against each member in the division, with a champion crowned and performance prizes awarded. There will be promotion/relegation for the first- and last-place teams, allowing countries to improve their standing each season, meaning the USMNT will have promotion/relegation before MLS.
“This is a watershed moment for CONCACAF,” CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani said in a press release. “By focusing on football to provide all our teams with year-round, quality competition, the League of Nations platform means everyone wins. This new tournament is highly beneficial to all our member associations and fans everywhere, since it provides significant opportunities to play important competitive matches with increased regularity throughout the year.”
The League of Nations will have an effect on other aspects of international soccer beyond providing more matches. It will serve as qualifying for the Gold Cup and be used for seeding for World Cup qualifying.
CONCACAF says it’s doing this League of Nations to provide a quality and quantity of international competition among its members. While that certainly will be true, and fans will be able to enjoy more matches between top teams and fewer meaningless friendlies, you can’t help but think that CONCACAF (and other confederations) are doing this to increase revenues now that FIFA is supposedly trying to crack down on corruption. But hey, that’s the price you pay for more soccer.