Next season’s FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup will move to a knock-out 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 knock-out from Round 1.
Previously the competition had extended group stages before moving into knock out 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.
MCWFC won the trophy in 2014, finishing top of their group before defeating Chelsea and Arsenal in the semi-final and final.
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 (FA WPL) and the five lowest-placed finishers in last season’s FA WSL 2 – Watford, Millwall Lionesses, London Bees, Durham 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 knock-out 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 knock-out 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.”
The Preliminary Round will take place weekend of 7-8 May with the First Round on 2-3 July. The Final will take place in October.
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 1 or 2 October
The FA WSL 2016 Season will kick-off on 23 March 2016 and concludes on 6 November 2016. The fixture programme will be announced in January.