New tournament to benefit Caribbean nations says Montigliani

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MIAMI, Florida (CMC) – CONCACAF is seeking to help resolve an issue that has plagued the development of the game in the region.
The governing body for the game in North, Central America and the Caribbean will launch a new Nations League competition next September which will feature all 41 members.
CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani said the format will be similar to the UEFA Nations League in Europe and it will help to alleviate the challenge of regular competitive action which many Caribbean nations face.
“This new tournament is highly beneficial to all our member associations and fans everywhere, since it provides significant opportunities to play important competitive matches with increased regularity throughout the year,” Montagliani told the Reuters news agency.
“The biggest difference between our Nations League and the UEFA, is that their nations were already playing a significant amount of games … But for us, it is to allow our countries to play a minimum amount of games over a four-year window.
“Our bigger countries have the capacity to do that, but our system was, in my opinion, archaic and you had countries who were playing four to six games in a four-year period. It is kind of hard then to develop football in any capacity.”
The national teams taking part in the tournament are expected to be split into three divisions, based on their “sporting level” with promotion and relegation. It will also serve as a qualifying route to the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Montigliani said the new tournament had already been warmly welcomed by presidents of national associations, many of whom have never featured in the FIFA World Cup Finals and struggled to organise and finance friendly matches.
But they all agree however, that there was a serious need for matches in order to help their national teams progress and CONCACAF will ensure that they all have the resources to feature in the competition.
“Sure, some countries are not necessarily going to win the World Cup, but that is not the point,” he said. “The point is that everybody deserves the basic necessities to try to develop their game and I think this League of Nations provides a great platform for all 41 countries,” he said.
“This allows the smaller countries to participate at a minimum level which has not always been the case in the past.”
Details of the tournament are to be rolled out in February, and Montigliani said it was refreshing to put the playing of the game back into focus, rather than the off-field shenanigans that saw the organisation heavily implicated in the corruption scandal that rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA.

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