The inaugural UEFA Nations League is in danger of being adversely affected by UEFA’s decision to begin its first-ever finals just days after the Champions League final takes place.
The Champions League showpiece will be held at the Wanda Metropolitano, home to Atletico Madrid, on June 1, with the first Nations League semifinal taking place four days later.
Hosts Portugal are due to appear in that first semifinal on June 5, which is set to be played at the home of FC Porto, with the second semifinal being held 24 hours later in Guimaraes on June 6.
It means the hosts, as well as fellow Nations League finalists England, Netherlands and Switzerland, could be denied key players in the lead up to those semifinal ties — if they are even called up at all.
England have the highest chance of being adversely affected, with Manchester City (four players) and Liverpool (four players) backed to go far in the Champions League.
Netherlands also have two Liverpool players, plus Barcelona reserve goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.
Portugal could be without Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo, who did not play in the Nations League group stage, and Joao Cancelo, plus they also have players at Atletico Madrid, Barcleona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Manchester City and Napoli.
Switzerland would appear to have the least chance of being affected.
UEFA decided to play the semifinals on June 5 and 6 to ensure they are standalone games, with all other European countries playing in Euro 2020 qualifiers on June 7 and 8. The Nations League third-place playoff and final follow on June 9.
FIFA rules state that players must be released for a major finals tournament 14 days before it begins, but the Nations League is being played on a designated international week in the football calendar and UEFA would not want to devalue the Champions League by enforcing call-ups.
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