UK & World News
Uefa Backs New 'Nations League' Tournament
Uefa is to introduce a new Nations League tournament to replace most international football friendlies from 2018.
The competition will feed into qualifying playoffs for the 2020 European Championship and could be incorporated into qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
Uefa president Michel Platini said it was a "very important decision for the future of football at the level of national teams".
The tournament format is yet to be finalised, although Uefa foresees up to four divisions with promotion and relegation.
Each division would likely be split into four groups, with the winners of each group qualifying for a playoff semi-final.
Overall winners of the lower divisions could be rewarded with entry to the European Championship or World Cup, according to reports quoting officials.
The teams would play in odd-numbered years on dates set aside for friendlies, starting after the 2018 World Cup.
Based on the current rankings England are likely to play in the top tier, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could end up playing together in the third division.
Uefa secretary-general Gianni Infantino told reporters the league was certain to be passed.
"We need to make better use as there are teams that everyone wants to play in a friendly and others who can never get an opponent, which is where this idea for a League of Nations comes from," he said.
"We have been looking at optimising the structure of the calendar without bringing in any more dates," he explained, saying the tournament was part of a general review of the football calendar.
Uefa members are also expected to back tougher sanctions for match-fixing at their annual congress.