CONCACAF today announced the dates and format for the inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup. The confederation announced that the first version of this Gold Cup will be held between February 17 and March 10 in 2024, in the United States.
The qualification for the tournament will be set for September 2023 and the draw for the teams set to play in the qualification stage will be held on May 17, 2023.
The qualification rules for the Gold Cup have been set as follows:
- A six team preliminary round and a 12 team group stage, followed by a three round knock out stage. The final will be set for March 10.
- The group stages for the Gold Cup will consist of eight CONCACAF teams and four CONMEBOL guest teams. The United States are the only team that was qualified due to their status as current CONCACAF W Championship winners. They will be joined by the winner of the CONCACAF Olympic play-in winner (Canada or Jamaica) and six further teams from CONCACAF who will play early qualifying round. The teams from CONMEBOL will be selected based on the 2022 Women’s Copa America.
CONCACAF also released a detailed report for how the Gold Cup will be formatted.
- The preliminary round will be held as a single round on February 17, 2024. The six teams participating will be divided into three pairs based on their ranking within the federation as of December 2023. The highest ranked team will face the lowest ranked team, the second highest will face the fifth ranked team, and the third ranked team will face the fourth ranked team. After the single match elimination play, the winning team of each matchup will advance to the group stage of the Gold Cup.
- The group stages are set for February 20-28, 2024. Eight teams from either CONCACAF or CONMEBOL will qualify for the knock out stages. There will be three groups with each group featuring four teams. Each team will play each other once to determine who will advance to the knock out stages.
- The knock out stages (set for March 2-10, 2024) will then see the three group winners and runners-up, as well as the two best third place finishers play each in a single elimination match format. The knockout stage itself will be comprised of quarter-finals (March 2-3), semi-finals (March 6) and the final on March 10.
After the conclusion of the World Cup this summer, the road to the Gold Cup will begin. 33 team in CONCACAF (excluding the two teams set for the Olympic games) will be split into three leagues according to their ranking as of March 2023. The three leagues will play home and away in group stages within each league, during the FIFA windows in September, October and November.
- League A: Nine top ranked teams 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
The top three finishers from League A will automatically qualify for the Gold Cup group stage. The second place finished from League A and the first-place finishers from League B will advance to the preliminary round of the Gold Cup.
A note was placed by U.S. Soccer in their press release about the Gold Cup which stated that the dates for the Gold Cup are in the same window as the SheBelieves Cup. Therefore, the federation is in the process of looking for alternative dates to hold the SheBelieves Cup. This adjustment will only apply to years in which the Olympic Games are staged.