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UEFA considers replacing friendlies with nations league

Europe's governing body is mulling over a proposal that would see non-competitive matches faded out for a league format.

UEFA is considering scrapping international friendlies in favor of developing a nations league competition starting in 2018.

The innovative concept, which would see non-competitive fixtures faded out and replaced by as many as nine divisions encompassing all 54 nations, was initially suggested by the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.

Their proposal, which includes a promotion and relegation format, was a point of discussion by Europe's governing body at an executive committee meeting in Croatia last month.

Norwegian Football Association President Yngve Hallen, who is a member of the committee, confirmed that the idea is among those under discussion.

He told The Guardian: "It is true that a series of games is one of the models being discussed. No one should have to qualify for this tournament - everyone plays from the first game. And then there is also a recognition that tournament form should be easy to understand for most people. All this we need to work out."

Karl-Erik Nilsson, Sweden's Football Association representative, has backed the proposal due to the perceived difficulty in sparking the public's interests for international friendlies - but insisted that qualifying campaigns will remain unaffected should the concept materialize.

He told Aftonbladet: "It has been established that it is difficult to get interest around friendlies. For 2020 it has been looked at whether it would be possible to combine traditional qualifiers with this league format, instead of friendlies, to increase interest.

"It is worth looking at but we were clear that it can't have an impact on the qualifiers for the Euro tournaments. The qualifiers are No. 1 and have the highest priority. There won't be more international games because of this."

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