Whittaker welcomes new Concacaf women’s calendar

Concacaf is set to launch a new senior women’s national football schedule in 2021. The Concacaf Council approved this structure of new competitions Thursday (10 December) with the aim of transforming women’s national team football across the entire confederation.

The schedule consist of major centralized tournaments that will be held in the summer of 2022 and 2024.

“This is very motivational for the players, very motivational for the spectators to get the opportunity to see different football,” said Cayman Islands Football Assocition President Alfredo Whittaker. “So this is a win-win situation and kudos to Concacaf because this is all welcomed.”

Concacaf also stated the new initiative set out will provide more official match dates for all Concacaf region women’s senior national teams and ensures elite competition. In addition, Concacaf will “more than double” the number of official senior women’s national team matches compared with the current cycle of competitions.

“This means that now we can have a measurement of where we are in the development,” said Whittaker. “It means that our young promising footballers will get the opportunity to team up against the big countries, it means we have the opportunity to also host them. So we can really have more international quality women’s football in the Cayman Islands.”

The Cayman Islands competed in Group F of the Concacaf U20 Women’s Championship held in the Dominican Republic earlier this year. Photo: Mexsport

According to Concacaf, the structure of how the new competitions will be organized, and the formats, are as follows:

Concacaf Women’s National Team Competition 2021/22 – FIFA World Cup Qualification

Group Stage – FIFA Windows of November 2021 and April 2022

  • Concacaf women’s national teams ranked 3 and below in the FIFA Rankings will be drawn into six groups of five*;
  • Each team will play a total of four matches (two at home and two away);
  • At the end of the group stage, the six group winners will qualify for a centralized Finals event
  • The top two Concacaf nations in the FIFA Rankings from August 2020, USA and Canada, will not compete in the group stage and will receive a bye straight to the Finals;
  • *Should more than 30 Concacaf MAs participate in this competition, a Play-In would be organized ahead of the group stage

Centralized Finals Event – July 2022

  • The six group winners will be joined by the top two Concacaf ranked nations (USA and Canada);
  • The eight nations will be split into two groups of four;
  • After single round-robin play, the top two from each group will qualify for the knockout rounds;
  • The final event will qualify Concacaf teams into the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023.

Concacaf Women’s National Team Competition 2023/24 – Women’s Concacaf Nations League

Group Stage – FIFA windows of September, October, November 2023 (and April 2024 Play-In)

  • Concacaf national teams* will be split into groups within three leagues;
  • Home and away matches will be played within league groups;
  • The three top 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 Concacaf women’s national teams which compete in the Summer 2024 Olympic Games will not compete in the group stage and will receive a bye directly to the Finals.

Centralized Finals Event – June 2024

  • The Finals of the 2023/24 Concacaf women’s national team competition will consist of 12 teams split into three groups of four, including:
  • The two Concacaf national teams which compete in the 2024 Olympic Games (they receive a bye directly to the Finals of this competition);
  • Six Concacaf national teams which qualify through the Group Stage and Play-In;
  • Four guest national teams from other Confederations;
  • After single round-robin play, the three group winners, the three group runners-up, and the two best third-place finishers will qualify for the knock-out stage which will consist of quarterfinals, semi-finals, and a final.

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