New Concacaf W competition expands play for regional women's teams

Concacaf has introduced a new competition for women's national teams -- the Women’s Concacaf Nations League -- that will expand playing opportunities for its smaller members, who have struggled in the past to maintain full-time programs for women.

In introducing the new competition as part of the next four-year cycle of events from women's national teams covering 2021-24, Concacaf president Victor Montagliani said the new competition's goal is to "provide a development pathway for all of our member associations" as well as create "strong and competitive finals events to showcase the very best of women’s national team football in our region."

Concacaf W's three national team events ...

2023 World Cup qualifying. Six teams will join the USA and Canada, Concacaf's top two ranked teams as of August 2020, in the final stage. Those six teams will be determined from a preliminary stage with single round-robin play involving as many as five teams in each of six groups.

-- The final stage of qualifying will consist of two groups of four and take place in July 2022. The winners of the two groups will qualify for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. FIFA has not allocated the places in the 2023 tournament. At least one additional berth will be likely be awarded to Concacaf, as was the case in 2019.

2024 Olympic qualifying. Two teams from Concacaf will qualify for the 2024 Olympics in France, though Concacaf has not set the qualification process. It will have to be completed before the start of the new Women’s Concacaf Nations League as the two Olympic qualifiers are exempt from the Women’s Concacaf Nations League's group stage, which begins in September 2023.

2024 Women’s Concacaf Nations League. The new competition will consist of three stages:

Group Stage. September, October, November 2023 windows.
Play-In. April 2024 window.
Finals. June 2024.

All Concacaf teams (except the two Olympic 2024 qualifiers) will be split into groups within three leagues, similar to the men's Nations League's tiered format. Teams will play home-and-away matches within each league group. The three group winners of the top-tier league will qualify for the finals, as will the winners of play-ins between the three group runners-up of the top-tier league and the three group winners of the second-tier league.

In addition to the two Olympic finalists and six qualifiers from the group stage and play-ins, four guest teams will take part in the finals.

The finals will consist of three groups of four teams in single round-robin play. The three group winners, three group runners-up and two best third-place finishers will advance to the knock-out stage.
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