Concacaf Enters 'New Era' With Nations League

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(ATR) Concacaf (it's no longer CONCACAF) officially unveils a new competition and a new logo as it looks to put the corruption scandal that shook the world of football two years ago firmly behind it.
Concacaf's new logo (Concacaf)

The Nations League, officially announced on Wednesday at the headquarters of the football confederation in Miami, will begin with a qualifying phase in September.

For the current president of Concacaf, the Canadian Víctor Montagliani, this event, together with other policies promoted in the last two years to preserve unity and transparency, "is a decisive moment, which marks the culmination of our transition to a new era for our 41-member Concacaf family”.

The foundations of this organization were shaken after three Concacaf presidents, Jack Warner (Trinidad and Tobago), Jeffrey Webb (Cayman Islands) and Alfredo Hawit (Honduras) were accused of acts of corruption. Webb and Hawit pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing in a New York federal court while Warner is fighting extradition to the United States.

Several directors of the regional body are among the 42 persons and entities accused of corruption by the U.S. Department of Justice in a process that has been dubbed "FIFAgate".

The new league will take place in September, October and November of 2019 with a championship for the top league being played in March 2020 to declare the champion of the Nations League. There will, however, be a one-off qualification phase this year to determine which of the three tiers each nation will be placed in.

Concacaf Nations League begins in September (Concacaf)
The six countries that made up the Hexagonal, Concacaf's final round of World Cup qualification, in the previous cycle will automatically be placed in the top tier. That means Mexico, the United States, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago will be able to play friendly matches in the late 2018 and early 2019 international windows.

League A has four groups of three teams, meaning six spots in the top league are up for grabs during qualification. Once the Nations League completes a cycle, the bottom team from each of the four groups in League A will be relegated to B, while the winners of the groups in League B ascend to the top league.

The four last-place finishers in League B, which will be made up of four groups of four teams, will fall to League C. League C is made up of three groups of three and one group of four with the group winners of that League also promoted to the next league.

The top 10 finalists in the final qualification table will join the six nations of the Hexagonal round of the World Cup in the 2019 Gold Cup, which has recently been expanded to 16 teams.

Guatemala will not be able to participate in the qualification of the new event, since the country's federation is still suspended by FIFA. 

The announcement of the Nations League is seen by some experts as very favorable to the promotional campaign of Mexico, the United States and Canada to land the 2026 World Cup. The North American bid is facing a serious challenge from Morocco to host the event.  

Written by Miguel Hernandez

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