By Paul Nicholson
August 20 – Concacaf has boosted competition opportunity for its national women’s teams with a revamped W Championship and the introduction of the W Gold Cup, the women’s version of the men’s competition that completed in Las Vegas August 1.
Concacaf nations came away from the Women’s Olympic tournament in Japan with the Gold (Canada) and Bronze (USA) medals. The new formats will give senior women’s national teams two major centralised summer tournaments – the Concacaf W Championship in 2022 and the Concacaf W Gold Cup in 2024.
The Concacaf W Championship in 2022 will qualify teams to FIFA WWC 2023 and the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
“This is a seismic development for our women’s national team competitions and will transform the women’s game in Concacaf,” said Concacaf President and FIFA Vice President, Victor Montagliani.
The new competitions will more than double the number of official senior women’s national team matches compared with the previous cycle of women’s national team competitions.
“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,” said Montagliani.
The qualifiers for the new Concacaf W Championship 2022 will see 30 member associations in six groups of five play in a preliminary round in the Women’s Match Windows of November 2021 and April 2022.
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.
Road to W Gold Cup opens up
The qualifiers for the inaugural edition of the 12-team Concacaf W Gold Cup will begin in 2023 for finals in the summer of 2024. Eight teams from Concacaf will qualify for the finals with four guest nations being invited from other confederations.
Concacaf qualifying nations will be the 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.
“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. 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,” said Concacaf Head of Women’s Football Karina LeBlanc.
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