MIAMI – Concacaf Wednesday confirmed that the inaugural Concacaf Nations League, set to kick off Thursday, will serve as the qualifying pathway for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup for all 41 member associations.

The new centralized men’s national team competition represents a new era of national team football for the Confederation.

Created to maximize the match dates available within the FIFA international calendar and to provide more competitive football for all associations, the group stage will take place in the September, October and November FIFA windows of this year.

After round-robin play, the four League A group winners will advance to the Concacaf Nations League finals to crown the first competition champion. The finals, originally scheduled for next March, now will take place in June. The complete group stage schedule is available here.

The group winners from League B and League C will be promoted to League A and B, respectively, while the teams at the bottom of League A and League B will be relegated to League B and C, respectively, for the next edition of the Concacaf Nations League.

“The Concacaf Nations League is about uniting the confederation through meaningful competition, while providing an exciting pathway to the Gold Cup,” Concacaf president Victor Montagliani said. “Through this tournament, all 41 Concacaf member associations are able to follow the dream of competing on a more consistent basis, opening the door for continued development across our entire region.”

As announced in March 2018, the Concacaf Nations League qualifies the region’s top teams to the Concacaf Gold Cup. The qualifying process for the 2021 Gold Cup will be as follows:

* Concacaf Nations League A (8 teams): After group stage play in November, the top two teams from each of the four League A groups will qualify to the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.

* Concacaf Nations League B (4 teams): After group stage play in November, the winner of each of the four League B groups will qualify directly to the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.

* Gold Cup qualifiers (4 teams): After group stage play in November, the third-place finishers in League A, the second-place finishers in League B and the first-place finishers in League C will advance to a two-round qualifier, to be played in March and June 2020.

For the first round of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup qualifiers, the second-place finishers of League B will face the first-place finishers of League C in March 2020. After home-and-away play, the four matchup winners will advance to the second round, where they will face the third-place finishers of League A in June 2020. The four matchups winners of Round two will qualify to the 2021 Gold Cup.