Come November, Concacaf senior women’s national teams will be involved in a new format of competition.
The new structure will include two major centralized summer tournaments; the Concacaf W Championship in 2022 and the Concacaf W Gold Cup in 2024.
These tournaments will provide more official match dates for all Concacaf women’s senior national teams while ensuring there is elite competition to showcase the highest level of women’s international football in the Confederation.
The first phase begins in November 2021, with the Concacaf Qualifiers which will include 30 Concacaf nations and serve as qualification matches for the W Championship which takes place in 2022 ahead of the Road to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 within the region for all competing nations.
Concacaf’s President Victor Montagliani said this was a seismic development for women’s national team competitions and one that would transform the women’s game in Concacaf.
“When we launched our Concacaf W strategy in 2019 we committed to providing more opportunities for all member associations. This new ecosystem wholeheartedly delivers on that and the inclusion of an inaugural Concacaf W Gold Cup as a central part it is a truly exciting step in our journey to further elevate women’s football. I can’t wait to see these matches and new competitions unfold on the pitch and hope they inspire future generations of women and girls to play and develop a passion for the game,” he said.
Meanwhile, Concacaf’s Head of Women’s Football Karina Le Blanc said these new competitions would be game-changing for women’s football.
“I am so excited for the draw this weekend and the first qualification match for 30 of our women’s national teams in November this year. We are providing a platform for women footballers in Concacaf to thrive, and for women and girls throughout the region to support their national teams with pride,” she said.
The structure of the two new competitions and their qualifiers will be as follows:
2021 Concacaf W Qualifiers
(Qualifies teams into the Concacaf W Championship)
The new Concacaf W Qualifiers are scheduled to take place during the FIFA Women’s Match Windows of November 2021 and April 2022, and will serve as the preliminary round of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship.
The 30 Concacaf Member Associations participating, all ranked 3 and below in the FIFA Women’s Ranking as of July 2021, will be divided into six groups of five.
After group stage play, where each nation will play two matches at home and two matches away, the top finisher in each of the groups will advance to the Concacaf W Championship, joining the top two ranked Concacaf nations (USA and Canada) who receive a bye straight to the W Championship.
2022 Concacaf W Championship
(Qualifies teams into FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 and 2024 Summer Olympic Games)
The first of the two major summer competitions, the Concacaf W Championship, will take place in 2022 and will serve as the Confederation’s Qualifier to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 and the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games.
The eight participating nations, including the USA and Canada, and the six Concacaf W Qualifiers group winners will be divided into two groups of four teams.
After group stage play, the top two finishers in each group will qualify for the competition’s semifinals and guarantees their place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023.
Additionally, both Group Stage third-place finishers will advance to a FIFA Women’s World Cup intercontinental play-off.
The knockout stage of the W Championship (semifinals, third-place match, and final) will be played in a single match direct elimination format.
At the conclusion of the event, the winning nation will guarantee its place in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games Women’s Football Tournament and the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup.
The runner-up and the third-place finisher will progress to a Concacaf Olympic play-in series to be played in September of 2023. The winner of the play-in will also guarantee their place in Paris and the W Gold Cup.
2023 Road to Concacaf W Gold Cup
(Qualifies teams into 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup)
Following the conclusion of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand in August of 2023, where a minimum of four Concacaf Nations will participate (two others will have an opportunity to qualify via an intercontinental play-off), the road to the first-ever Concacaf W Gold Cup will begin.
Thirty-three Concacaf national teams, not including the two who will compete in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games Women’s Football Tournament will be split into groups within three leagues according to their Concacaf Women’s Ranking as follows:
League A: Top nine ranked nations divided into three groups of three teams
League B: Next 12 best-ranked teams divided into three groups of four teams
League C: Lowest ranked 12 teams divided into three groups of four teams
After home and away group stage play, during the FIFA Women’s match Windows of September, October, and November 2023, the top finishers in each of the League A groups will qualify for the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup Group Stage.
The second-place finishers in each of the League A groups and the first-place finishers in each of the League B groups will advance to a W Gold Cup Play-in, scheduled for April of 2023. The three play-in winners will also qualify for the Concacaf W Gold Cup Group Stage.
2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup
The inaugural edition of the Concacaf W Gold Cup will take place in the summer of 2024 and will consist of 12 teams split into three groups of four. The 12 participating nations will be determined as follows:
Winner of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship
Winner of the Concacaf Olympic Play-in
Three League A Group winners of the Road to Concacaf W Gold Cup
Three winners of the Concacaf W Gold Cup play-in
Four guest nations from other Confederations
For the Group Stage, the 12 teams will be split into three groups of four teams each. After single round-robin play, the group winners, runners-up, and the two best third-place finishers will qualify for the knockout stage which will consist of quarterfinals, semi-finals, and a final, where the W Gold Cup champion will be crowned.
The W Gold Cup Final will not only crown the champion of what is now Concacaf’s flagship women’s international competition, but it will also cap off a 4-year cycle where teams from the region will have competed in a minimum of 195 official matches, which represents a 118% increase in comparison to the previous four-year cycle.
Together, the 2021 Concacaf W Qualifiers, 2022 Concacaf W Championship, 2023 Road to Concacaf W Gold Cup, and 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup will accelerate the growth of Women’s Football and provide a consistent structure of matches and competitions for our Member Associations. They will also inspire the next generation of women and girls in our region to develop a passion for football.