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UEFA Nations League format and schedule confirmed

Decisions of the UEFA Executive Committee

UEFA Nations League format and schedule confirmed
UEFA Nations League format and schedule confirmed ©UEFA.com

055 - UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 to be staged in the Netherlands

The UEFA Executive Committee today met at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland and took a range of decisions, including the confirmation of the format and schedule of the UEFA Nations League, the appointment of the Netherlands as hosts of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2017, and clarification regarding the current situation of Crimean clubs.

The competition formats of the UEFA Nations League and European Qualifiers 2018-2022 were approved. Both competitions will feature home and away fixtures. Single match play-offs to qualify for UEFA EURO 2020 via the UEFA Nations League will be played in March 2020. All matches will be played in accordance with the Week of Football schedule concept.

UEFA Nations League

Main competition: will be played from September to November 2018 (six dates), the national teams of UEFA’s 54 member associations will be divided into four divisions according to the UEFA coefficient rankings updated after the conclusion of the European Qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. UEFA Nations League A and B will each include four groups of three teams, whereas UEFA Nations League C will have two groups of three teams and two groups of four teams, and UEFA Nations League D will contain four groups of four teams.

In each league, the four group winners will be promoted and the four bottom-placed teams will be relegated for the next competition to be played in 2020. The overall UEFA Nations League ranking will determine the composition of the draw pots for the subsequent European Qualifiers.

Final Four: The four group winners of UEFA Nations League A will play in a knock-out format (semi-finals and final) in June 2019 to become the UEFA Nations League champions. The semi-finals fixtures will be decided by draw and the venue will be appointed by the UEFA Executive Committee.

Play-offs to qualify four teams for UEFA EURO 2020: will be played under the knock-out system (semi-finals and final). Each league within the UEFA Nations League will be entitled to four play-off spots. If the group winners have already qualified via the European Qualifiers, the next best-ranked team(s) within the league will qualify for the play-offs. Play-off slots are dropped down to lower leagues if less than four teams remain available for a play-off qualification (waterfall mechanism). So there will be four groups of play-offs, each with an end winner.

In the semi-finals, the best-ranked team will play the fourth best-ranked team and the second best-ranked team will play the third best-ranked team. The highest-ranked teams will play the semi-final at home, whereas the venue for the final will be drawn in advance between the two semi-finals’ winners.

European Qualifiers for UEFA EURO 2020: will be played between March and November 2019 (ten dates). The 54 participating teams will be divided into ten groups of five or six teams. The winners and runners-up of each group will qualify for the 24-team final tournament, with the remaining four spots allocated via the UEFA Nations League play-offs in March 2020.

For the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the same principles will apply to both the UEFA Nations League and the European Qualifiers but will be adapted to the number of slots available and final tournament dates: uefa.to/1pXIHzB.

The UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 will be staged in the Netherlands in seven venues - Breda, Deventer, Doetinchem, Enschede, Rotterdam (Het Kasteel), Tilburg and Utrecht - during July and August 2017. A record 46 teams will compete in the qualifying round, attempting to join the Netherlands in the newly-expanded 16-team final tournament.

With regards to the situation in Crimea, and following on from the decision of the UEFA Emergency Panel of 22 August 2014, the UEFA Executive Committee decided to prohibit Crimean clubs to play in competitions organised by the Russian Football Union (RFS) as from 1 January 2015 and for the region to be considered as a “special zone” for football purposes until further notice. Furthermore, the RFS may not organise any football competition in Crimea, without the consent of UEFA and the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU). Under the supervision of UEFA Executive Committee member, Mr František Laurinec, UEFA will also fund the development of football in Crimea, especially for youth and football infrastructure initiatives, with the precise funding to be determined at a future UEFA Executive Committee meeting. This solution brings the situation in line with the statutes of both UEFA and FIFA and aims at ensuring that football can be played and developed in Crimea.

The UEFA Executive Committee approved an agreement with CAA Eleven to reflect UEFA’s new sporting concept for national team football for the period 2018-2022. This means that the agency will now also be responsible for managing the commercial rights to the UEFA Nations League as well as the European Qualifiers, UEFA EURO and friendly matches. CAA Eleven will also continue to manage the rights to the final tournaments of UEFA’s other national team competitions. The complete list of competitions concerned by this agreement are: UEFA European Football Championship, UEFA Nations League, European Qualifiers (UEFA EURO and FIFA World Cup), men’s national A team friendly matches, UEFA Women’s EURO, UEFA European Under-21 Championship, UEFA Futsal EURO, UEFA European Under-19 Championship, UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship, UEFA European Under-17 Championship and UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship.

Further to the creation of an award in 2011, comprising a commemorative cap and medal, for all European national team players who have reached the 100-cap mark, the UEFA Executive Committee decided to launch a similar mark of recognition for female players having played 100 matches for their national side.

Other decisions taken by the UEFA Executive Committee included:

• Approval of the 2015 UEFA Anti-Doping Regulations

• Approval of the 2015-17 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Regulations

• Ratification of the consolidated annual financial statements for the 2013/14 season

• Approval of the 2015 UEFA Coaching Convention

The first meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee in 2015 will take place at the House of European Football on 26/27 January.