Section 1: Background Information

Why has the UEFA Nations League been set up?

  • The UEFA Nations League has been set up through a desire of UEFA and its National Member Associations to improve the quality of national team football. One of the main aims is to have greater meaning in international football. There was an increasing consensus from associations, coaches, players and fans that friendly matches do not provide adequate competition for national teams.

Is it a good thing for the Scottish FA?

  • Yes, for a number of reasons. Primarily the UEFA Nations League will provide more meaningful and competitive matches.
  • There will be a clearer fixture calendar and a defined ‘buffer’ between the end of the UEFA EURO and FIFA World Cup competitions and vice versa. The UEFA Nations League will also have the same centralised media rights that have been introduced for all European Qualifiers. This means the Scottish FA will have even more stability in our income, which can then be re-invested into the Scottish game.

Are there benefits for the fans?

  • The matches that form Scotland’s participation in the UEFA Nations League will provide a more competitive and meaningful experience for fans and players alike.
  • The UEFA Nations League, of course, also provides teams an additional chance to qualify for UEFA EURO finals, should they not qualify through the traditional qualifying format.

Will this give Scotland two chances to qualify?

  • The UEFA Nations League will take place outside the traditional qualification process for UEFA EURO finals. The top ranked teams in each league who have not already qualified will go into a play-off; the winner of this will qualify for the UEFA EURO finals.

Is this a real competition?

  • Teams involved have the chance to win their group and, subsequently, win promotion to the league above.
  • The four group winners of League A will qualify for the UEFA Nations League Finals, and compete for the new UEFA Nations League Trophy. The trophy will be unveiled at the League Phase Draw in Lausanne, Switzerland on 24 January.
  • Additionally, for teams not already qualified for the UEFA EURO Finals, there is the chance to win qualification with four sides qualifying through the European Qualifier play-off matches which take place in March 2020.
  • The overall UEFA Nations League rankings will also determine the composition of the draw pots for the subsequent European Qualifiers.

Is this the end of friendly international matches?

    • This is not the end of friendly international matches by any means, but there will be fewer. There will still be places in the international calendar for friendly matches – in particular warm-up matches ahead of major tournaments or if a National Team is drawn into a league of three teams in the Nations League. UEFA themselves have emphasized that they are keen that European teams still have the chance to play teams from outside Europe.

Section 2: Competition Format

When was the draw?

  • The League Phase Draw for the UEFA Nations League took place at the SwissTech Convention Centre in Lausanne on 24 January 2018.
  • Scotland were drawn in Group C1 alongside Albania and Israel. 

How does the competition work?

  • The format of the UEFA Nations League will feature promotion and relegation and see the 55 European national teams divided into four leagues.
  • The leagues have been decided in accordance with UEFA’s national association coefficient rankings on 11 October 2017. League A will include the top-ranked sides and League D will include the lowest.
  • The participating teams were divided into the four leagues, as follows:
    • The 12 teams ranked 1st to 12th in the UEFA national team coefficient rankings enter League A (four groups of three)
    • The 12 teams ranked 13th to 24th enter League B (four groups of three)
    • The 15 teams ranked 25th to 39th enter League C, (three groups of four and one group of three)
    • The 16 teams ranked 40th to 55th enter League D (four groups of four)
  • Teams will plays each other, home and away in a traditional league format to determine their placings in the league phase.

When will the games be played?

  • The teams will play each other home and away between September and November 2018, thus playing four to six matches within the dates already foreseen by the international match calendar.
    • Matchday 1: 6-8 September, 2018
    • Matchday 2: 9-11 September, 2018
    • Matchday 3: 11-13 October, 2018
    • Matchday 4: 14-16 October, 2018
    • Matchday 5: 15-17 November, 2018
    • Matchday 6: 18-20 November, 2018
  • Scotland's fixtures:
    • Monday, 10 September: Scotland v Albania
    • Thursday, 11 October: Israel v Scotland
    • Saturday, 17 November: Albania v Scotland
    • Tuesday, 20 November: Scotland v Israel

We have ended up in a group of three - how will this work?

  • As there are an odd number of teams in League C, one group has only three teams in it. Scotland have now been drawn in the only group of three within League C.
  • Two friendly matches will be scheduled for the spare match days. We will play Belgium and Portugal at Hampden.

What happens then?

  • First of all, there is a ‘final four’ competition for the four group winners of League A. This doesn’t affect Scotland.
  • The four group winners of League A will qualify for the UEFA Nations League Finals, to be played 5-9 June 2019, with two single-leg knockout semi-finals, a third-place match and the final. Extra time and penalties will be required if there is not a winner at the end of normal playing time.
  • One host country will be appointed by the UEFA Executive Committee in December 2018 from among the finalist teams.
  • No seeding is applied for the draw for the finals.

How does the UEFA Nations League feed into the European Qualifier play-offs?

  • There are sixteen European Qualifier play off placings available and four more countries will progress from the play off to EURO 2020.
  • Each league will have a path of its own and each path will feature two single-leg semi-finals and one single-leg final, drawn on 22 November 2019, played in single venues from 26–31 March 2020. 
  • This means that sixteen teams will be involved.

Who qualifies for the play-offs?

  • The sixteen group winners will qualify for the play offs but it is likely that many of them will go on to gain their EURO 2020 slot via the European Qualifiers (which take place in 2019).
  • If a UEFA Nations League group winner has already qualified via the European Qualifiers, then their spot will go to the next best-ranked team in their league.
  • If a league does not have four teams to compete, the remaining slots are allocated to teams from another league, according to the overall UEFA Nations League rankings.
  • If a group winner has already qualified via the European Qualifiers, then their spot will go to the next best-ranked team in their league. 
  • If a league does not have four teams to compete, the remaining slots are allocated to teams from another league, according to the overall UEFA Nations League rankings.  

What is the format of the play offs?

  • Each league will have a path of its own and each path will feature two single-leg semi-finals and one single-leg final.  The winner of each path will win a ticket to UEFA EURO 2020. 

Where will the play offs be played?

  • The better ranked teams host the semi-finals. The final is determined by a draw, made before the semi-finals.

Remind me, how do the EURO 2020 qualifiers work?

  • The 55 teams will be split into ten groups of five or six. Twenty teams – the top two in each of the ten groups – will reach the tournament via the European Qualifiers, running from March to November 2019.
  • The top two from each group will qualify for the final tournament, determining the first 20 places, with the remaining four spots going to the play off winners.

How does promotion and relegation work?

  • Promotion and relegation between the four leagues takes effect for the next edition of the competition as follows:
    • The four group winners in Leagues B, C and D are promoted to the next league up.
    • The four third-placed teams in Leagues A and B are relegated to the next league down.
    • In League C, the three sides finishing bottom of the groups of four will be relegated, along with the worst 3rd placed side. That means that the side finishing bottom of group C1 (the group with three teams) would escape relegation if their record was better than one of the other 3rd placed sides (the results against the 4th placed team are excluded when comparing teams).

Will one of the nations in League D qualify? Is this a good thing?

  • Yes, they will. UEFA believe that this will help to stimulate the development of the game throughout some of the smaller nations.

Is this the end of FIFA rankings and co-efficient system? What about the World Cup?

  • As of the second edition, the composition of the four leagues will change on the basis of promotion and relegation based on the league rankings of the previous edition.

How often will the UNL be played?

  • It is scheduled to be played every second year.
  • So, for the 2018/19 edition, the leagues will take place in 2018 and the finals in 2019.
  • Then for the 2020/21 edition, the league will be played in 2020 (again September to November) and the finals in 2021.

Will it be used for qualification to the World Cup in future as well?

  • It is possible but this has not been decided.

Section 3: Television

Where can I watch the UEFA Nations League games on TV?

  • Sky Sports will be showing all home nations games in the UEFA Nations League.

Section 4: Scottish FA / Ticketing

When will tickets go on sale?

  • Ticket sale dates will be announced in due course. As ever, Scotland Supporters Club members will have priority access to home tickets and will be able to purchase during the exclusive members sale period, before tickets go on sale to the general public.

Will all games be at Hampden?

  • These matches will likely be played at Hampden.

What will the ticket prices be for the UNL?

  • Both Scotland Supporters Club member and non-member ticket prices will be announced in due course.

Will there be a season ticket package?

  • Yes, a season ticket will be exclusively available to Scotland Supporters Club members. All home UEFA Nations League matches will be included in the season ticket and purchasing one will give the member a saving against buying individual match tickets.

Will SSC members receive a discount?

  • Yes, when purchasing individual UEFA Nations League match tickets, Scotland Supporters Club members will receive a £5 discount on public sale prices. This is an increase from the £3 saving per match members received during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign. Members will also receive an additional saving when purchasing a UEFA Nations League season ticket.