Concacaf has made significant changes to its senior women's national team competition schedule, adding two major summer tournaments -- 2022's Concacaf W Championship and 2024's Concacaf W Gold Cup -- and more than doubling the amount of official matches over the next three years.
The new four-year cycle will see teams compete in at least 195 official matches, an 118% increase over the amount from the previous four-year cycle.
Phase 1 of the revamped calendar will begin with November's Concacaf W Qualifiers, an event in which 30 teams will battle for spots in the 2022 W Championship. The draw for the Qualifiers is slated for Saturday at 3 p.m. ET in Miami.
"This is a seismic development for our women's national team competitions and will transform the women's game in Concacaf," Concacaf president and FIFA vice president Victor Montagliani said in a statement. "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."
"These new competitions will be game-changing for women's football in Concacaf. I am so excited for the draw this weekend and the first qualification matches for 30 of our women's national teams in November this year," Concacaf head of women's football Karina LeBlanc added in the statement. "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."
Here's the structure for Concacaf's new women's calendar:
2021 Concacaf W Qualifiers
- Matches will be available on Paramount+
- Taking place November through April, this will serve as the preliminary round of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship
- Concacaf will divide the 30 participating teams into six groups of five
- Teams will play two home matches and two away matches after the group stage and each group's top finisher qualifies for the Concacaf W Championship
- The U.S. and Canada, the top-two ranked Concacaf teams, will have byes and automatically advance to the W Championship
2022 Concacaf W Championship
- This will decide which teams qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2023 and the 2024 Paris Olympics
- Concacaf will divide the eight participating teams -- six who advanced from the Qualifiers plus the U.S. and Canada -- into two groups of four
- Once group play concludes, each group's top-two finishers will advance to the semifinals and secure spots in the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand
- Third-place finishers from the group stage will compete in World Cup intercontinental play-off
- The format for the W Championship's knockout stage (semifinals, third-place match and final) is single-match direct-elimination
- The winning nation will clinch a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics and the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup
- The runner up and third-place teams will compete in a Concacaf Olympic play-in series set for September 2023, with the winner earning a spot in both the Olympics and W Gold Cup
2023 Road to Concacaf W Gold Cup (October-November 2023)
- 33 Concacaf teams -- excluding the two participating in the intercontinental play-off -- will be divided into groups within three leagues based on their Concacaf women's rankings
- League A consists of the top-nine ranked teams, split into groups of three
- League B consists of the next-12 best teams, split into three groups of four
- League C consists of the bottom-12 ranked teams, split into three groups of four
- Top finishers from each League A group will advance to the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup group stage
- Second-place finishers from each League A group along with the first-place League B teams will qualify for the W Gold Cup Play-in slated for April 2023.
- The three winners of the play-in matches will advance to the Concacaf W Gold Cup group stage
2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup
- Concacaf's first ever W Gold Cup will feature 12 teams split into three groups of four at the start
- The 12 teams competing are the winners of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship, Concacaf Olympic Play-in, the three League A Group winners from the Road to Concacaf W Gold Cup, the three winners of the Concacaf W Gold Cup play-in and four guest nations from other Confederations
- The group winners, runners-up and two best third-place finishers from single round-robin play will advance to the knockout stage
- The knockout stage (quarterfinals, semifinals and final) will determine the first ever W Gold Cup champion