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Report: CONCACAF close to finalizing new 'League of Nations'

UEFA’s proposed Nations League looks like it will change the world of international friendlies, prompting CONCACAF to respond with their own international competition.

According to Reuters, CONCACAF is close to finalizing plans for a new “League of Nations” competition that would effectively eliminate friendlies.  A total of 41 nations from North and Central America and the Caribbean have reportedly been contacted by CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani and the format could be finalized as soon as this weekend.

“There has been overwhelming acceptance that it is a great idea and the way we need to go,” Montagliani told Reuters. “There are a few formats that we have looked at and we have had various members coming back with ideas. We have a format that we have landed on and we will show it to our members first.”

Montagliani says the new competition would help some of the region’s smaller names become competitive, giving them frequent meaningful games against others within the area. Powerhouses like the U.S. Men’s National Team and Mexico would also be involved, as Montagliani says that “it is not like you’ll have a choice to opt out”.

That means the region’s elite will be unable to play friendlies against top international competition but would rather stay within the region for international matches. Given Europe’s move to their own international league, scheduling big-name friendlies would be difficult regardless without UEFA’s teams on the table.

“What people need to realize is that the world of friendlies is going to change, with Europe changing to the Nations League, it is going to get harder to get friendlies,” said Montagliani .

“The truth of the matter is that a lot of the friendlies our nations play, including the bigger nations, are a waste of time, let’s be honest, a lot of them are not quality. You are better off playing a game that actually means something (even) against an opponent, that on paper anyway, may not be as good.”

Plans for the league could be finalized as soon as Saturday at the CONCACAF Congress in Aruba.

32 comments
  • Stinky Pete

    Get South America to join and you’ll get my signature otherwise I won’t sign.

    Like

  • wychijeff

    This is one of the worst things I’ve heard of. We already have this and it’s called the Gold Cup. How much longer are the US and Mex going to put up with this? With the Hex becoming worthless with the increase in WC teams to 48, we will be playing zero meaningful games against quality competition leading up to the WC. At this rate, US, Mex & Costa Rica should just form their own tournament and play against each other.

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    • Super Nintendo Chalmers

      Agreed. The minnows of CONCACAF may have the numbers to force this, BUT both the US and Mexico have the leverage to quash it or allow it to be severely modified. The biggest problem is that it creates “meaningful” matches for the minnows while hurting the big fish in CONCACAF. World ranking is determined by the ranking of your opponent. Playing low ranked teams all the time will lower the ranking of the US, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

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      • wychijeff

        I’ll bet we end up playing our U-23 team in this as a way to get more game experience for Olympic qualifying. That would be the only positive I could see.

        Another thing I just thought of, would this count as a competition that would cap tie players? Does the “League of Nations” in Europe cap tie players? If so, with so few friendlies, I think we see a lot less one-time switches under FIFA rules as more players will be cap tied in these meaningless competitions.

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      • Shaggie96

        Friendlies do very little for your Fifa ranking, no matter who you play. We need to do better in the WC if we are going to improve our ranking in any material way.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bigprof72

        this Montie dude should orchestrate a super club league between the economically moderate Costa Rica, Panama, and Trinidad/Tobago. 2 teams each from the latter 2 countries joining 6 or 7 CR teams would create a powerful Concacaf league outside of Liga MX and MLS. Increased popularity of this super league would lead to more development of infrastructure and improve the CCL.

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      • bottlcaps

        Unless FIFA changes its ranking methodology, its a death knell for the US and concacaf nations to ever hope of getting a seed in the WC, unless they are hosting. I do not think even the better CA countries like this. Its clearly ass-kissing for the Caribbean nations who threatened to form their own confederation. If this is what we get, let them go. If Montagliani wants them to have more games against better teams, let them build some better stadiums invite Northern. European teams to visit during the winter. or, now that concacaf have six WC spots, have 6 groups and have the 6 best ranked teams as seeds and populated the groups with the minnows. Uefa does it all the time, so what if Italy beats Andorra 7-0 every time, it must be good for Andorra as they have improved so much. Lets face it St kitts will not improve much more tha it is now unless the players play in a better domestic league, playing against superior teams once or twice a year WILL NOT IMPROVE THEM.

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      • bottlcaps

        Whats bad about this is that the games WILL NOT be friendlies, they will be Concacaf federation games and will be assigned more points than friendlies, except, unless the US gets to play Costa Rica and Mexico and beat them all the time, will not give them any more points than a Friendly agains, lets say Macedonia or Moldava. This is the single most stupid thing to come out of Concacaf in a long time. and Unless I’m missing something key, Gulati should piss all over this.

        At least the while the previous Concacaf Presidents were thieves and miscreants, and were being bought off all the time, they were probably not stupid enough to think the US and Mexico would sign off on this without a big bribe. If we do this, it will mean that Gulati is either suspiciously corrupt or exceedingly dumb.I think Gulati is honest, lets hope he is not that stoooopid.

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  • TheFrenchOne

    So first, the Hex is going to vanish once we move 6 WC spots for Concaf, meaning that the US will be guaranteed to qualify each time with their C team. And now, they want to make it impossible for the USMNT to go play friendlies against stronger competitions?! This is insanity. How are the US, Mexico and CR ok with this? Pray tell there’s an announcement that we will be joining CONMEBOL soon.

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  • DJ

    Truthfully, it doesn’t matter if the US, Mexico, and CR are ok with it. The majority of the voting block in this region is made up of much smaller, carribean nations. It’s been nice having the ability to play against top Euro competition (cause those friendlies against teams like Germany are much better than “meaningful” games against Bermuda).

    Now that the Euro teams aren’t going to play friendlies with the rest of the world, perhaps CONCACAF and CONMEBOL should start a joint competition. It’d be in everyone’s best interest.

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    • quozzel

      It doesn’t matter if the three most relevant teams in CONCACAF aren’t OK with it?

      On paper, sure, but if the USA and Mexico decide to pull from CONCACAF, that Federation is Oceania Mk.2 overnight. Truthfully I’m wondering if maybe we should since this “1 nation = 1 vote” nonsense is what got FIFA so bent to begin with since most of the minnows have nothing worthwhile to do aside from selling their vote to the highest bidder.

      I assure you, Bahamas and St. Kitt do not command the USA. Or Mexico. Or Costa Rica. The three of us can pretty much do what we want and Canada, Jamaica, T&T, Haiti, pretty much everybody we value will fall right on in line. Personally if they wanna try garbage like this I’d pull out with the top 9-10 members and show these guys exactly where they are without us and let them founder on their own for a WC slot rather than deal with any more Jack Warners.

      We do not need them. And if they think they boss us, more’s the pity.

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      • Anthony

        Yeah…that is well thought out. If USA/MEX/Costa Rica pull out, what federation are they going to join? They only other one is COMNEBOL. Good luck qualifying out of that on a regular basis. UEFA precipitated this by being babies with their nations league. What we should do is form a league of nations with COMNEBOL and an Americas Copa America every 4 years on a 2 year off cycle from the Gold Cup (having the top 6 or 8 from previous Gold Cup automatically qualify). That should hurt UEFA.

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  • Shaggie96

    Mexico and CR are ok with this because it will have very little effect on them. In the entire 2014 WC cycle mexico played eight friendlies against European teams and CR only three. Most of those were against lower level competition. CR made it to the quarterfinals of the WC and barely played a team outside of the western hemisphere. Mexico played a few CAF teams and CR played Japan, Korea and Australia, but for the most part their friendly schedules were heavy with Concacaf and Conmebol teams. CR making it to the quarterfinals is pretty solid evidence that you don’t need a heavy schedule of European friendlies to be competitive in the World Cup. Of course there are other benefits, but it’s irrelevant if those teams aren’t going to be available to play friendlies anyway.

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Concacaf and Conmebol end up working together on this League of Nations concept. If not for the 2022 cycle, definitely 2026. WCQ is going to be very different at that point and both federations will be looking for ways to get more meaningful games imo.

    What’s wrong with the minnows getting more meaningful games? Good for them, I say. Modigliani is right. The US played 28 official games between the 2010 and 2014 world cups (not including the world cups). Canada played ten. I have no idea if it will raise the competitive level of the region as a whole, but if it does, that’s a good thing for the US, not a bad thing.

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    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho

      ‘Meaningful games’ …is a game meaningful if no one cares about the result? US Soccer is about winning Gold Cup, qualifying for World Cup and doing our best at that stage. If this competition doesn’t contribute much to those aims calling it ‘meaningful’ doesn’t make it so.
      This is almost like re-branding friendly games as competitive to trick people into believing it. I don’t think this will work.

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      • Shaggie96

        If it’s structured like the UEFA league, there will be multiple divisions and pro/rel between divisions, so the games will definitely be meaningful. The divisions would be based on Fifa ranking so the competitive levels will be similar. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it replace one of the Gold Cups which would be fine with me. If they’re able to join with Conmebol this could be huge and would be as good or better than combining the federations.

        Like

      • Super Nintendo Chalmers

        Like when the NFL stopped calling those exhibition games that don’t count “preseason.”

        Like

    • Guwinster

      The thing is, it is possible to get quality games in the Western Hemisphere…only if you stick to playing North American, Central American and South American teams, plus Haiti, Jamaica and T & T. This is what Costa Rica has always done.

      However if the League of Nations tries to force the US or Mexico to play games against Montserrat and the USVI, then that will be a net negative, and a serious drag on our competitiveness in the World Cup.

      Liked by 1 person

  • enoswins

    If they really are going to grow the WC to 48 teams, the US and Mexico need to join CONMEBOL before it happens and drag those qualifying spots with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Old School

    Oh my. Everyday CONCACAF is proposing another “worst idea I’ve ever heard of”.

    Like

    • Old School

      Sidenote: This is how programs and development regress. Facing lower quality nations regularly, absent of real competition, is horrendous when the World Cup rolls around.

      Like

  • NE Revs

    This is nothing more than globalization freeing the flow of money and resources. Europe has decided to mirror the UCL format for it’s national teams and now the footballing world has no option but to follow suit.

    It’s no different in college sports, where conference realignment is only held back by buy out and grant of rights clauses in various conference agreements. Some have even speculated that when those agreements end in the 2020s, college football could oft of super conferences only and completely blocking out smaller conferences. Even some whispers of getting rid of conferences and going full blown Champions League, with the UT/LSU/BAMA type schools joining up and the Texas Tech/Miss St fluff redrawing a separate competition with the Group of 5 conferences.

    Everybody who want’s the US to join CONMEBOL should realize, the only thing that’s keeping the US/MEX from joining is travel logistics/cost (and perhaps some sense of duty to helping develop the CONCACAF region). Ultimately, there really is no good solution. The only winners, like most things, are those in charge (the European teams)

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  • evan

    jesus f*cking christ. what the f*ck. why don’t CONCACAF just f*ck off already. i swear to god 2017 is the year from hell. it’s like everyone in the world who ever had anything good is just trying to ruin it on purpose this year. lucky that club soccer is on almost every day because i think i may never watch another international match again…

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    • Old School

      …and just a few more years before club soccer is completely interrupted, mid-season, because the vile snakes bought and paid for sold the World Cup to a region that has no business hosting based on humanitarian violations or climate implications.

      Like

  • Tut

    Not for it unless conmebol is involved. The quote in the article about friendlies being of low quality doesn’t move me. Under klinsy we had some good, confidence mustering friendlies against Germany and who else? Someone remind me. I am underwhelmed with this idea.

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  • Quit Whining About Soccer in the US

    I am almost at the point of thinking that I couldn’t care less. Literally not possible to care less than I do about this proposed tourney.

    I get from a money perspective that they want the games to matter for more of it, but come on, the last thing we needed is another soccer tourney.

    I was just thinking when seeing the headline of new summer friendlies….why?

    Like

  • larry

    Lots of questions, particularly about the schedule. How can this ever work? If there are 41 teams, there can’t possibly be single group. Given the few friendly slots per year, how can any meaningful league competition be achieved in a single year? If the competition is spread over 2, 3, or 4 years, It becomes meaningless and the games revert to being friendlies. This would apply to the UEFA effort as well. If CONMEBOL were to compete with CONCACAF teams, it would be better, except the problem of too many really por teams and not enough schedule dates still exists. If CONMEBOL does not compete with CONCACAF, they are left out in the cold with nobody to play against in the Americas or Europe except themselves. Silly.

    Like

    • Shaggie96

      The UEFA league will be four divisions with pro/rel between divisions. I would assume this league will be similar.

      Like

  • KungFuSoccer

    Meaningless friendlies are boring other than scouting players I’m not familiar with. So sounds good to me, Is this also going to replace the Gold Cup as well as the friendlies?

    Like

  • Dolf

    Friendlies suck anyway. If the US beats a “giant” in a friendly, it doesn’t matter because it’s “just a friendly”. If they happen to lose said friendly, it’s because we suck. So I’m all for a league of Nations depending on what the format actually looks like.

    Like

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