By David Owen
October 24 – The new UEFA Nations League is set to enhance the value of European international football matches, according to Guy-Laurent Epstein, the European football body’s marketing director.
Speaking at Sportel Monaco, the sports media and marketing convention in Monte Carlo, Epstein indicated that Nations League matches, combined with Euro 2020 qualifiers and remaining friendlies involving European teams should generate €2 billion over the 2018-22 four-year cycle.
This would be up from an estimated €1.35 billion – comprised of around €1 billion from Euro qualifiers and €350 million from friendlies – in 2014-18.
The Nations League is a new idea, intended to replace most international friendly matches in Europe with games pitting national teams of broadly comparable ability against one another.
The opening match in the new competition has been scheduled for 6 September 2018.
A new trophy is to be unveiled in January, at the same time as the league-phase draw.
The 55 UEFA member-associations are being divided into four leagues. In the top-ranked league – League A – teams will then be sub-divided into four groups of three. The four group winners from League A will then qualify for the UEFA Nations League finals. These will be held in June 2019, with one of the finalists – to be appointed by the UEFA Executive Committee in December 2018 – acting as host.
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