Concacaf Nations League explained

by

September 08, 2018
@Normal:Jamaica's Reggae Boyz celebrate after scoring in their Gold Cup semi-final match against Mexico in July 2017.
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Jamaica will begin their campaign in the newly-established Concacaf Nations League with a game against the Cayman Islands at the National Stadium tomorrow at 7 p.m.

The Reggae Boyz will then travel to Curacao to play Bonaire on October 14, then host Suriname at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on November 17. They wrap up this phase against hosts El Salvador on March 23, 2019 in Cuscatlan.

What is the structure like?

The inaugural competition will be played in the official FIFA match windows in September, October and November, 2019 with a Final Championship to be played in March 2020. All eligible CONCACAF Member Associations will be assigned by sporting performance into three leagues: A, B and C.

The teams contesting the Hexagonal round of FIFA World Cup qualifying (USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago) have received byes to the top division for the 2019/20 staging of the tournament.

The other 34 countries, including Jamaica, will compete in qualifiers for that top division, starting tomorrow. Guatemala, whose federation has been suspended by FIFA since 2016, will not take part in the inaugural tournament.

ROUNDROBINFORMAT

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 take a format of four divisions of three teams each, with a home and away round robin format 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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