What changes have UEFA made to the UEFA Super Cup, the Nations League and the European Qualifiers?
UEFA have confirmed a new venue for the 2023 UEFA Super Cup and format changes for the Nations League and European Qualifiers.
Change is coming. Change is good. At least that’s what they say. On Wednesday, the UEFA Executive committee confirmed that they will make changes to men’s competitions in both club and international soccer, namely the UEFA Super Cup, won by Real Madrid in 2022, the UEFA Nations League, which France most recently triumphed in, and European Qualifiers for World Cups and European Championships.
What change will UEFA make to the 2023 UEFA Super Cup?
The UEFA Super Cup change is a one-off which affects the 2023 edition. As is the case every year, the winners of the 2022-23 Champions League and the 2022-23 Europa League will compete for the trophy. The 2023 final was due to be held in Kazan in Russia but the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine has seen their clubs and national teams banned from both UEFA and FIFA competitions and there is no immediate sign of UEFA opening back up to Russia.
The 2023 UEFA Super Cup final will instead be played in Athens in Greece on Wednesday 16 August. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Milan have won the competitions on the most occasions, five times each. Los Blancos are the current holders having beaten Eintracht Frankfurt in the 2022 final in Helsinki.
What changes will UEFA make to the Nations League?
UEFA have also announced that the Nations League will be expanded from September 2024 onwards. The current format sees countries who finish top of four-team groups in Group A progress to a ‘Final Four’ phase, consisting of two semi-finals and a final (the draw for the upcoming 2023 edition has just been made, in case you missed it).
As things stand, there is a seven-month gap between the end of the group stage and the start of the final stage, which UEFA have decided to cut by introducing an extra round which will be played in March. This will see the both winners and runners-up in Group A (a total of eight teams) take part in two-legged quarter-finals.
Third-placed teams in Group A will face runners-up in Group B in a promotion/relegation playoff, which will be mirrored between Groups B and C.
What changes will UEFA make to World Cup and European Championship Qualifiers?
Finally, UEFA have revealed a new “consolidated” format for European Qualifiers for both World Cups and European Championships. Countries will be drawn in groups of four or five teams (down from five or six), which the governing body claim will make qualification “less predictable”, “more dynamic” and “more competitive”.
“The group winners of the European Qualifiers will qualify directly for the UEFA EURO or the FIFA World Cup, whereas the second-placed teams will either qualify directly or participate in play-off matches (together with UEFA Nations League teams for qualification to the UEFA EURO)”.
The new qualifying format will begin after Euro 2024, which will take place in Germany in June and July next year.
These particular changes are coming, but will they be good?