CONCACAF reveals Nations League format and qualifying draw
CONCACAF on Wednesday revealed details for the upcoming Nations League, the region's new competition for nation teams.
The event will be played on FIFA fixture dates in place of many friendlies and feature all member associations in North and Central America and the Caribbean. The teams will be divded into three divisions and include promotion and relegation for future editions of the tournament.
The six teams that played in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the World cup, including the United States and Mexico, were automatically placed in the top division for the 2019-20 event.
The other 34 countries, including Canada and Jamaica, will compete in qualifying starting this September, the draw for which was conducted on Wednesday. Guatemala, whose federation has been suspended by FIFA since 2016, will not take part in the inaugural tournament.
Matchups have been set for the Concacaf Nations League Qualifying Phase, kicking off this September— Concacaf (@Concacaf) March 7, 2018
Definidos los emparejamientos para las eliminatorias de la Liga de Naciones de CONCACAF que empezarán en Septiembre #CNLQ2018 | @CNationsLeague pic.twitter.com/VeRPKCQRdi
The top six qualifiers will join the top division, the next 16 clubs will be placed in the second tier, with the bottom 12 in a third league.
League A will then be split into four divisions of three teams each, with the clubs playing home and away against each other starting in September 2019. The winners of each group will advance to a four-team championship knockout event in March 2020, while those who finish last will be relegated to League B for 2021-22.
The competition is expected to primarily benefit smaller countries in the Caribbean and Central America who rarely play matches outside of official competitions like World Cup qualifying and regional tournaments.
This year's qualifying competition will also serve as qualifying for the 2019 Gold Cup, with the top 10 qualifiers advancing to the final tournament with the six automatic qualifiers.
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