Concacaf announces dates and format for inaugural Concacaf W Gold Cup

Concacaf announced on Wednesday that the inaugural 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup will be played from February 17 to March 10, 2024, in the United States, and revealed some other key information about the competition’s debut.

The competition will begin with six teams competing in the Preliminary Round, with matches taking place on February 17, 2024. That round will include three matches in a single-match elimination format, where the three winners will advance to the Group Stage. There they will meet the other nine teams that have already qualified for the second round (more information on the qualification format below).

There will be three groups of four teams, with matches in the group stage taking place from February 20-28. The top two teams from each group, along with the two best third-place finishers, will advance to the quarterfinals, where it becomes a standard knockout round format from there on — one match, winner advances to the next round.

It will culminate with the final on Sunday, March 10, 2024. From there, teams will continue to prepare for the Paris 2024 Olympics, which will begin on July 24.

The format for the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup. (Credit: Concacaf)

The United States has already qualified for the Group Stage as a result of winning the 2022 Concacaf W Championship and qualifying for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics. The other team that will represent Concacaf in Paris later that summer — one of Canada or Jamaica, to be decided this September — will also automatically qualify for the Group Stage of the competition.

Also automatically qualifying for the second round of the tournament are the four guest teams from the CONMEBOL region — Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and Paraguay — who were selected based on the results of the 2022 Women’s Copa America.

The other six teams will be decided via the aforementioned Preliminary Round, as well as a series of qualifying games this fall.

33 nations, not including the United States and the winner of the Canada vs Jamaica playoff round in September, will be split into three groups based on their March 2023 Concacaf rankings. League A will be three groups of three teams, made up of the top nine ranked teams, League B will be made up of the next 12 best-ranked teams divided into three groups of four teams, and finally, League C will be three groups of four teams comprised of the remaining 12 countries.

The winners of each group in League A will automatically advance to the group stage of the W Gold Cup. The winners of the League B groups will advance to the Preliminary Round of the W Gold Cup, along with the three second-place finishers in League A, making up the six teams for that round. The pairings for the Preliminary Round next February will be based on the December 2023 Concacaf rankings of all six teams.

For a visual explanation of how that will all play out, take a look at the graphic below.

The road to the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup (Credit: Concacaf)

The official draw for the 2023 Road to Concacaf W Gold Cup will take place on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.