Women’s football is set to get another leg up in 2021.
The Concacaf Council today approved the structure of a new senior women’s national team football calendar which is set to kick off next year, and include major centralized summer tournaments in 2022 and 2024.
The aim of this new structure is to transform women’s national team football across the Confederation. The new format will see official senior women’s national team matches doubled with elite competitions to showcase the highest level of women’s international football.
Concacaf’s announcement follows the launch of Concacaf W last year June, headed by former Canadian goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc, which has focused on working with Concacaf Member Associations to grow all aspects of women’s football in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Concacaf president Victor Montagliani said the move was a milestone moment for the Concacaf W strategy.
“I am hugely excited by the prospect of launching these new Concacaf women’s national team competition. I strongly believe they will provide a development pathway for all of our Member Associations, while at the same time creating strong and competitive finals events to showcase the very best of women’s national team football in our region,” he said.
Montagliani, who is also FIFA vice president, said the new competitions would help to further harness the growth in women’s football that has been seen in the region as a result of the last two FIFA Women’s World Cups. He added that he was confident they would have a positive impact on the women’s game at all levels in Concacaf.
Similarly, LeBlanc noted the competitions would accelerate the growth of the women’s game in Concacaf.
“As a former international player who is now on the administrative side driving forward the Concacaf W strategy, I am truly excited by this development for women’s football in the region. These new competitions will be transformative for the confederation by providing a consistent structure of matches for all Member Associations. I can’t wait for them to get started next year,” she said.
This announcement comes on the heels of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Barbados Football Association, the Emmerson Boyce Foundation and Team You last month, which has already begun to reap rewards for the women’s teams of the BFA in terms of training.
Concacaf Women’s National Team Competition 2021/22 - FIFA World Cup Qualification
The Group Stage competition is scheduled for the FIFA windows of November 2021 and April 2022.
Concacaf women’s national teams ranked three and below in the FIFA rankings will be drawn into six groups of five. It must be noted, however, should more than 30 Concacaf Member Associations participate in the competition, a Play-In would be organized ahead of the Group Stage.
Each team will play a total of four matches, two each home and away. At the end of the Group Stage, the six group winners will qualify for the centralized Finals event.
The Finals, scheduled to be played in July 2022, will see the six group winners join the USA and Canada, the powerhouses of women’s football.
The eight nations will then be split into two groups of four. After a single round-robin, the top two winners in each group will qualify for the Knockout Rounds.
The final event will qualify Concacaf teams for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand 2023.
Concacaf Women’s National Team Competition 2023/24 – Women’s Concacaf Nations League
For this segment of competition, Concacaf women’s national teams that compete in the Olympic Games (Summer 2024) will not compete in the Group Stage and will receive an automatic entry to the Finals.
Meanwhile, Concacaf national teams will be split into groups within three leagues, with home and away games played in each league group during the FIFA windows of September, October, and November 2023, and April 2024 will see the Play-In being held.
The top three league group winners will qualify directly to the Finals event in summer 2024. The second league group winners and runners-up from the top league will have an opportunity to compete in a Play-In to qualify for the Finals.
The centralized Finals event carded for June 2024, will see 12 teams split into three groups of four, including the two Concacaf national teams competing in the 202 Olympic Games; the six Concacaf national teams which qualify through the Group Stage and Play-In; and four guest national teams from other Confederations.
Following a single round-robin play, the three group winners, the three group runners-up, and the two best third-place finishers will qualify for the Knockout Stage which will consist of Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and a Final.
Please note, the qualification of Concacaf women’s national teams to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games will be structured through this new calendar of competitions.