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2016 Competition Format

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1 2016 Competition Format on Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:59 pm


Next season's FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup will move to a knockout format for the first time in the competition's five-year history. 
After consultation with clubs and stakeholders, the competition will now begin with a Preliminary Round before moving straight to knockout from Round One.
Previously the competition had extended group stages before moving into knockout stages for the quarter finals. The changes have been made to increase the excitement for supporters and competitiveness of the tournament with every match counting.
The Preliminary Round will be seeded - with the bottom six clubs competing in three matches. These clubs are Sheffield FC, who recently won promotion into FA WSL 2 from the FA Women's Premier League and the five lowest placed finishers in last season's FA WSL 2 - Watford, Millwall Lionesses, London Bees, Durham Women and Oxford United.
The First Round will also be seeded which will see FA WSL 1 sides drawn to face FA WSL 2 sides, with FA WSL 2 teams being given home advantage for the fixtures.
FA director of football development and participation Kelly Simmons said: "After speaking to our clubs and other stakeholders, we felt it was the right time to move to a knockout format and reduce some of the issues we had with the competition - such as dead rubber games.
"The new format will bring the excitement of a knockout competition but still ensure that FA WSL 2 clubs get to face FA WSL 1 opponents, providing development opportunities.
"We are confident that these changes will make for a much more competitive and exciting FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup in 2016 for players and supporters alike."
This year's trophy was won by Arsenal, who beat Notts County 3-0 after a Jordan Nobbs brace and the third from Chioma Ubogagu.
FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup 2016 - fixture windows: 
Preliminary Round: 7-8 May
First Round: 2-3 July
Quarter Finals: 6-7 August
Semi Finals: 3-4 September
Final: 1st or 2nd October 
The FA WSL 2016 Season will kick off on 23rd March 2016 and concludes on 6th November 2016. The fixture programme will be announced in January.


2 Re: 2016 Competition Format on Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:13 pm


Inevitable switch really since 19 teams doesn't split into even groups and you can't even give somebody a bye through a group stage which has five games each because it's skipping too much.

I don't think the competition having a group stage was inherently bad though, and in some ways it was actually preferable to differentiate it from the FA Cup. It just didn't particularly suit our current circumstances what with the quality gap between WSL1 and WSL2. Maybe it will return in the future.

3 Re: 2016 Competition Format on Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:30 pm


I can understand the wish to get rid of the dead fixtures, but at the same time those fixtures were the only real opportunity for managers to rotate in order to give their younger players some game time. And now they have been swapped for knockout rounds that come with a hell of a lot more riding on them and therefore call for your strongest available side. Where do the youngsters get their minutes now?

4 Re: 2016 Competition Format on Thu Dec 10, 2015 6:29 pm


I'm not too bothered about the format change itself since there were pros and cons to what it was and there will still be pros and cons to what it now is. I'm just just happy to see that the final will now be falling before the league concludes. I didn't mind the whole 'curtain closer' thing but more often than not the gap between the final league game and the final was too big, meaning the final felt like a post-season friendly.

5 Re: 2016 Competition Format on Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:39 am


I checked the FIFA calendar to see how it all lines up. The international windows are: 

5-21 Aug
12-20 Sept
17-25 Oct
21-29 Nov

So it falls quite nicely for the semis and final. But the quarters clash with the Olympics? There are group stage games on both the 3rd and 6th August. Clubs are required to release their players 14 days before their first game. So what is happening with the summer break? Short and therefore pointless or no break at all?

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