GENEVA: The UEFA Nations League will be expanded with a new knockout round after 2024, European soccer's governing body said on Wednesday (Jan 25) following its executive committee's meeting in Nyon, Switzerland.
The knockout round will be played in March and create continuity between the group phase ending in November and the Finals in June.
League A group winners and runners-up will participate in home-and-away format quarter-finals, with the winners qualifying for the final four.
The third-ranked team in League A and the runners-up in League B, as well as the third-ranked League B side and the League C runners-up will play a home-and-away promotion and relegation playoff.
"By introducing the new knockout phase, teams will be given even more opportunities to progress while keeping the same number of games within the international match calendar," said UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin.
In another change, the European qualifiers for the European Championship and World Cup will be more consolidated, with teams being drawn in 12 groups of four and five teams.
"The predictability of the European qualifiers has also been addressed and tackled, with a fresh new format that will offer all the teams an equal chance to qualify for major tournaments," Ceferin added.
The new formats for these competitions will come into effect in September, 2024, UEFA said in a statement.
Russia, which sent officials from its football union to Switzerland to meet UEFA a day ahead of the executive committee meeting, was barred from taking part in or hosting UEFA or FIFA competitions following its invasion of Ukraine last year.
UEFA decided that Russia, which hosted the 2018 men's World Cup, could not participate in qualifying for Euro 2024, which beings in March.
This year's UEFA Super Cup has been moved from Kazan, Russia to Athens, Greece.