Concacaf, the governing body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean, has approved the creation of the Concacaf League of Nations, a new national team competition open to all 41 of the confederation’s member associations.
The competition will take the form of a divisional structure, with all 41 nations divided into three leagues based on a seeding system and a champion crowned at the end of each edition.
Seedings will be decided by a preliminary series of matches played across four different dates beginning in September 2018. Promotion and relegation will ensure inter-league movement, while the new competition will also offer a qualification route into the Gold Cup, Concacaf’s flagship national team tournament.
Additionally, the competition will inform a new Concacaf ranking system that will be used to decide seedings for future Fifa World Cup qualifying.
A Concacaf statement said the League of Nations, which mirrors Uefa’s forthcoming Nations League, will ‘bring meaningful home and away matches’ and help improve the ‘quality and standing’ of soccer in its region.
Concacaf president Victor Montagliani described the creation of the competition, which follows a year-long development and consultation process, as “a watershed moment”, adding: “By focusing on football to provide all our teams with year-round, quality competition, the League of Nations platform means everyone wins.”
Montagliani has set out various reforms and initiatives designed to improve the standard of soccer in each of Concacaf’s member nations as part of his ‘One Concacaf’ vision, which formed the basis of his campaign to become the confederation’s president in May 2016.
It is hoped the new League of Nations will enable all Concacaf’s members to play more matches, particularly its smaller nations and lower-ranked teams who typically struggle for competitive fixtures due to the region’s policy of cutting them out of World Cup qualifying early on in each four-year cycle.
Concacaf has also discussed, along with Uefa and Fifa, the idea of a Global Nations League, which could start as early as 2021 and would complement the League of Nations.