CONCACAF Set To Follow UEFA’s Example And Eliminate International Friendlies
In the face of constant derision from both fans and club teams with regards to international friendlies, UEFA proposed the adaptation of a UEFA Nations League to replace friendlies. Essentially, instead of playing one-off exhibition matches, all 55 European nations would be divided into four groups, much like a club league system, using prior results to determine which nations would begin in which groups.
Over the course of September 2018 through June 2019 international matches would be contested in these groups, a champion declared and nations would either be promoted or relegated before the start of another season. The proposal was unanimously approved at a UEFA Congress in 2014, but it isn’t scheduled to begin until after the 2018 World Cup. It will also serve as part of the qualifying process for Euro 2020 — the first 24-team European Championship.
The decision has been largely welcomed by everyone who’s a fan of international football. Now, according Reuters, CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani is looking to propose the same thing for his region.
A CONCACAF congress in Aruba tomorrow will likely see the structure of the competition formalized, and then the region will look to secure sponsors and broadcast partners for the ongoing competition.
While the elimination of tedious friendlies will be welcomed by all, the adaptation of a UEFA Nations League and CONCACAF Nations League all but eliminates matches outside of the World Cup between the confederations.
“What people need to realize is that the world of friendlies is going to change,” said Montagliani, “with Europe changing to the Nations League, it is going to get harder to get friendlies. The truth of the matter is that a lot of the friendlies our nations play, including the bigger nations, are a waste of time, let’s be honest, a lot of them are not quality. You are better off playing a game that actually means something against an opponent, that on paper anyway, may not be as good.”
If ratified as an official competition, all nations within CONCACAF, including Mexico and the United States, will be required to play.
With CONCACAF having six slots at the 2026 World Cup (including Mexico, Canada and the U.S. if a joint bid is accepted), the league is viewed as a massive competitive benefit for the region’s smaller nations.
As for the United States and Mexico, they’ll probably be seeing a lot more of each other after 2018.