MIAMI: The revolutionary ‘pots system’ developed by Chilean accountant Leandro Shara will be put to use in the qualifying stages of the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The competition was created by the central and North American confederation – following the European model being launched by UEFA – to give all 41 federations more competitive and cash-raising opportunities.
Action kicks off in 2019, after the 2019 Gold Cup, and will consist three leagues or divisions (A, B and C). In order to decide which teams will compete in which division, a qualification tournament will be played from September 2018 through March 2019, in the four international windows.
The preliminaries will also serve as qualification event for 2019 Gold Cup, which will be expanded to 16 teams.
The format chosen for the qualification tournament is as as innovative as the tournament itself.
It involves 34 teams with the six nations from the final Hexagonal of the 2018 World Cup seeded direct to Nations League A and to the Gold Cup, while Guatemala’s national team will not participate because of FIFA sanction.
For the first time an official international tournament will be run by the MatchVision format developed by Shara.
Teams will be split not into groups but into pots, based on their ranking and each team will be drawn against a rival from the other pots, including their own. All teams contest one table which decides finishing standings.
Sjara first promoted the format in 2013, challenging the claim by the then FIFA president Sepp Blatter that the traditional mini-league system was the “best mathematical way”.
The system has been successfully implemented in several competitions around the world, including football’s largest tournament, the Copa Peru, which has more than 27,000 teams competing, and a 50-teams final tournament.