The 2019–20 CONCACAF Nations League will be the inaugural season of the CONCACAF Nations League, an international association football competition involving the men's national teams of the 41 member associations of CONCACAF. The competition, which will be held from September 2018, will also serve as part of the qualifying process for the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which has been expanded from 12 to 16 teams.
The format proposals were first formally investigated at the XXXII CONCACAF Ordinary Congress in Oranjestad, Aruba on 8 April 2017. The tournament was officially confirmed by CONCACAF in November 2017. The format and schedule of the Nations Leagues was announced on 7 March 2018, 10:00 EST (UTC−5), at The Temple House in Miami Beach, Florida, United States.
The Nations League will begin with a one-off qualifying phase, to be played across four matchdays from September 2018 to March 2019, which will determine the composition of the leagues for the group phase of the tournament. Apart from the 6 teams which participated in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying hexagonal, the other 34 teams (Guatemala could not enter due to FIFA suspension) entered qualifying. Each team will play four matches, two home and two away, with the results compiled into an aggregate table. Based on the standings, the teams will be divided into tiers for the group phase of the inaugural edition of the CONCACAF Nations League. Moreover, the top 10 teams in the qualifying phase will qualify for the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, joining the 6 hexagonal participants.
The group phase of the Nations League, consisting of three tiered leagues, will be played in the official FIFA match windows in September, October, and November 2019. All eligible teams will be assigned by sporting performance into Leagues A, B, and C. Each league will be sub-divided into four groups, featuring promotion and relegation, in which the teams will compete in a home-and-away, round-robin format over the course of the group phase.
League A will contain 12 teams, with the 6 hexagonal participants joined by the top 6 teams from qualifying. The league will be split into four groups of three teams. The four group winners will qualify to the Nations League final championship, to be played in March 2020, which will determine the champion of the new competition. The four last-placed teams in each group will be relegated to League B for the next edition of the tournament.
League B will consist of the next 16 teams from qualifying, which finished from 7th to 22nd. The league will contain four groups of four teams. The four group winners will be promoted to League A, while the four last-placed teams in each group will be relegated to League C for the next edition.
League C will consist of the remaining member associations, the teams which finished 23rd to 34th in qualifying. The league normally consists of 13 teams divided into four groups, with three groups of three teams and one group of four teams. However, due to the suspension of Guatemala, there are currently only 12 teams eligible, which would result in the league being divided into four groups of three teams. If the suspension is lifted prior to the group phase, Guatemala possibly could be admitted into League C. The four group winners will be promoted to League B for the next edition of the competition.
Of CONCACAF's 41 member associations, 40 entered into the competition. The National Football Federation of Guatemala was suspended by FIFA in October 2016, and therefore Guatemala was ineligible to enter qualifying after missing the deadline of 1 March 2018. However, as the suspension was lifted by FIFA in May 2018, Guatemala could possibly enter into the group phase.
The draw for the qualifying fixtures was held on 7 March 2018 directly after the launch event of the CONCACAF Nations League. The 34 teams were seeded into four pots based on their position in the March 2018 CONCACAF Ranking Index. A computerized pre-draw produced a "master schedule", creating 17 fixtures for each matchday. The teams in each pot were then drawn to the corresponding positions in the schedule. The computer model assured that no teams would face each other more than once, and that each team would play two home and two away matches. Based on their results, the teams will be divided into tiers for the main round of the inaugural edition of the CONCACAF Nations League. Moreover, the top ten teams will qualify for the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup to join the six hexagonal participants.