UEFA are expected to announce the introduction of a new Nations League for national teams from 2018 and tougher, Europe-wide sanctions against match fixing at their Congress on Thursday.

Although the exact details have yet to be revealed, the Nations League competition will largely replace friendly games and become, in effect, the third major international competition for European teams after the World Cup and European Championship.

The plan would involve teams playing in three or four divisions, with promotion and relegation between them.

The competition would culminate in a 'final four' tournament with two semi-finals and a final taking place at a neutral venue in the summer of odd-numbered years.

Structured 'friendlies'

"What has triggered this whole discussion is that we have been working to establish a new international calendar," UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said. "We also wanted to bring more structure to the dates when there are friendly matches.

"There are some countries everyone wants to play against and other teams who struggle to find opponents, so we looked for something new and have come up with the Nations League, which will be presented to Congress on Thursday."

Infantino gave more detail on the proposals UEFA want to introduce to deal with match-fixing, which, he said, was only producing 0.7 per cent alerts from the 32,000 matches UEFA monitors 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

Source: Reuters