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Our Shiny New Hattrick World Cup

2020-06-03 10:56:00

In January 2021, we will kick off a new format for National Team competitions in Hattrick. The new system will be more flexible, allowing all leagues in Hattrick to participate. It also introduces continental championships, which means we can crown champions for the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia-Oceania in the future.

As we see it, the National Teams are a fantastic way to bring local communities together around a shared project: Raising youth players, training them and then electing a coach that can put it all together into a winning team. For many users, this is the most fun part of Hattrick. We really want more of you to discover this as well, which is why it is a long term goal for us to reinvigorate the International part of Hattrick.

Over the past year, we have already released several new tools for National Team coaches as part of this revamp. The NT coaches can now appoint assistant managers and scouts, to help them with managing the NT, and they can create elaborate prospect lists for all the players they are following from their country. Now the time has come for the most important piece of the puzzle: The new format of the competition itself.

Since long term planning is a key part for the NT teams and their coaches, we want to give plenty of advance warning how the new system will work. We are presenting all the details for the new World Cup format today, but it will not come into effect until in January 2021.

What follows is a brief summary of the new World Cup system, all details can be found in the updated manual for National Teams.

Continental championships

America, Africa, Europe and Asia-Oceania will now have their own regional competitions, just like in real life. These continental championships are played in the first season of the National Team cycle, immediately after the new NT coach takes office. All National teams in Hattrick will be guaranteed a place in their regional tournament, which will also function as the qualifier for the World Cup. The continental championship is played in groups of 6 teams, home and away, over 10 weeks. The best 8 teams from the group stages enter the finals, at the end of which a champion will be crowned.

Another nice change is that during the continental championships, match times will be optimized for the local communities - no need to stay awake for European prime time, as the case has been until now.

The World Cup

Depending on the results in the continental championships, some teams will qualify directly for the World Cup, while others have to play an additional Wildcard Play-Off. Results in the continental championships also decide the seeding for the World Cup. A total of 96 teams will enter the World Cup, which kicks off in Week 13 of the first season. The World Cup groups will be decided by a live draw.

The World Cup continues through the whole second season. It is divided into 5 group stage rounds, followed by semi finals and finals.

Nations Cup

The teams that do not qualify for the actual World Cup will play a consolation tournament called The Nations Cup, which takes place at the same time as the World Cup.

New Ranking System

Results in all competitions affect the ranking of the National Teams, a ranking which decides the seeding of groups for upcoming continental championships. In this way, all matches continue to matter for all National Teams, even if they are no longer able to progress through a group stage due to a bad start. We want teams to always have something to gain from making the best possible effort.

New age limits: U20 becomes U21

Like today, there will be one National Team for senior players and another one for younger players, both with separate coaches and schedules. However, we are making changes to the age limits of these teams.

The U20 team will become a U21 team, in which players between the ages of 19 and 21 are allowed. Players under the age of 19 can be prospects for the NT, but not be selected for the squad.

We are also introducing a lower age limit for the senior squad at 22 years.

The new lower age limit for U20 teams will be in effect immediately. The upper age limit, 21 years, will not be in effect until in May 2021. We are introducing the age limits in steps to make the transition softer for teams with existing plans.

NT federation which everyone can join for free

One of our main goals have been to make the National Teams a more attractive experience for the “average user”, people that may be interested to just follow the matches of their local NT, or maybe try to train a player for the squad. Perhaps the best way to foster this interest is to be part of your local NT federation, something which only Supporters have been able to do until now. During the upcoming season we will start offering all users free access to their local NT federation, whether you are Supporter or not! Stay tuned for this - we want to discuss how to do this with the owners of existing NT federations first.

Lots more, and our thanks to the community

Along with the broader changes, lots of small things are also changing, things that are probably only of interest to hardcore NT fans. National teams will get a friendly pool of their own, there will be more flexibility for newly elected NT coaches to change formations without being penalized, and we are increasing transparency about candidates during elections. We are also reducing the amount of experience a player gets from playing NT matches, but this is mostly compensated by the fact that there will be more NT matches every season.

Many of these ideas, as well as loads of feedback about the new World Cup format, has come to us through discussions with past and present NT coaches, that we have had on a special invite-only forum over the last year. We want to give everyone that participated there a big shoutout, for their patience with us and for their unceasing energy to make suggestions for improvements on our plan.

We are very happy with the result, and look forward to kick-off in 2021.

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