Nation’s League to replace Concacaf qualifiers.

A proposed Nation’s League is set replace the Caribbean Cup qualifiers for the Concacaf Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers in the Concacaf region soon.

David John-Williams, the T&T Football Association president made this revelation during a press conference last Wednesday to announce seven local officials (referees and assistant referees) who obtained their Fifa badges. The event took place at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

The local football boss congratulated the officials and urged them to continue to lift their standard of officiating, as more matches awaited them in the future, such as at the Nation’s League that will replace the qualifiers for the Gold Cup, beginning in September of this year.

John-Williams told the gathering that a decision was made at a meeting of the Concacaf in November last year, but officials are expected to have further discussions on this initiative in the coming months, as well as the implementation of the same qualifying format for the World Cup Qualifiers.

The new format will see the composition of the Gold Cup expand from 12 to 16 teams and will enable national teams in the region more international friendly matches that will improve the quality and standing of the game.

Concacaf president Victor Montagliani said, “We’re looking to establish a league of nations, where we have some consistency for our countries, where they can play on a more consistent basis.”

He added, “A lot of countries struggle in getting friendlies, getting competitions. We’ve got some of our national teams, whether it be in the Caribbean or Central America or even in North America, like with Canada, where rather than playing 40 games in a four-year period, which is every Fifa date, they play like single digits or 10. You’re not going to grow or develop that way, so this League of Nations concept is for everyone to play on a consistent basis and keep the dream alive to qualify for things like a Gold Cup or obviously a World Cup.”

Montagliani also dismissed the idea of Concacaf merging its Fifa World Cup qualification tournament with CONMEBOL’s (The South American Football Confederation).

John-Williams explained that with the new League, one can see a 41-Concacaf team tournament broken into groups. Though the structure of the League has not yet been established, it is rumoured that the groups will be headed by the six teams that contested the Hex stage of the World Cup qualifiers, all being placed in seeded positions.

The League will also see all the teams in North, Central America and Caribbean merging together, and moving away from the Caribbean Cup which has been one part of the qualification process for the Gold Cup and World Cup.

John-Williams said he believes the new format will help Caribbean nations as they will have to improve their standard tremendously to qualify for both Gold Cup and World Cup.