Is CONCACAF Going to Continue Using Its Tournaments as Qualifiers for Multiple FIFA Tournaments?
Plus you can join my private quarterly Zoom call for Founding Member subscribers this Sunday at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT
MONTERREY, Mexico — Hello! It’s the day after a near all-nighter writing my story off last night’s USWNT win, which is to say it has been a bit of a slog for me. All-nighters were easier in my 20s. This was slightly complicated by a 7:30 am local podcast interview with Everton’s Asmir Begovic in England, and you’ll have to be the one who listens to the pod on Monday and judges whether I sound like a sleep-deprived lunatic or not.
Not much writing from me today, but there are a couple things I want to mention:
JOIN MY QUARTERLY PRIVATE ZOOM CALL ON SUNDAY AT 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT
If you want to upgrade to “Founding Member” status, you can join me on my quarterly private Zoom call Sunday night and ask me whatever is on your mind. These are fun events, and I always look forward to them.
How do you upgrade your account to Founding Member status? Here are the simple steps, and once you do it I’ll send you an email with the Zoom link:
- Go to https://grantwahl.substack.com/account
- Next to “Plan,” select “Change”
- Select the Founding Member option under “You can switch to the following plans”
You can also upgrade from being a free subscriber to a regular paid subscriber ($6 a month or $50 a year, i.e., $4.17 a month) using the same link. I really appreciate all your support. It allows me to be on-site here in Mexico covering the USWNT and other big games, and that in turn helps me land big one-on-one interviews like I had this week with Alex Morgan. We’ve just passed 2,200 paid subscribers, and things are going really well in that area, so thank you.
IS CONCACAF MOVING TO USE ITS TOURNAMENTS AS QUALIFIERS FOR MULTIPLE FIFA TOURNAMENTS?
You probably noticed that the current CONCACAF W Championship is serving as a qualifier for both the 2023 women’s World Cup and the 2024 Olympic tournament—in a similar way to the recent CONCACAF Under-20 men’s championship serving as a qualifier for both the Under-20 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics.
I had been wanting to know: Is this a new trend for CONCACAF that we’ll see moving forward? Or are they one-off situations due to Covid? My biggest concern is the “double jeopardy” situation that arises where one bad game can cause a nation to miss out on two tournaments—as was the case when Mexico’s U-20s lost to Guatemala on penalties in the quarterfinals and caused Mexico to miss both the Under-20 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics in one fell swoop.
A source with knowledge of CONCACAF’s thinking filled me in this week. In terms of its men’s Under-20 tournament feeding two FIFA tournaments, a few factors came into play:
• With more U-20 men’s players now being “full professionals” than they used to be and playing in different parts of the world, staging separate Olympic qualifiers in the spring was becoming more challenging for federations in terms of getting players released by their clubs. Hence the move to a summer tournament that could work for the Under-20 World Cup and the Olympics, which is Under-23 on the men’s side anyway.
• The CONCACAF tournament schedule was getting filled more anyway with the overall growth of the senior national team international calendar. That now includes the CONCACAF Nations League, which is providing official games for all the region’s federations, as well as an expanded CONCACAF Gold Cup with a preliminary round.
So far, at least, CONCACAF feels like the greater number of meaningful games and competitions at the senior level around the region is starting to create some growth stories, and seeing teams like Guatemala qualify for the Under-20 World Cup and the Dominican Republic qualify for both the Under-20 World Cup and the Olympics is in their minds supporting those changes.
The big question for me is how much the double-jeopardy aspect works against that growth.
As for the CONCACAF W Championship providing four automatic women’s World Cup berths and two half-spots for WWC qualifying playoffs, the feeling in the confederation was that giving an automatic Olympic berth to the tournament winner was a way to make the W Championship meaningful all the way to the end of the competition. (The second- and third-place teams will meet in a playoff for the other CONCACAF Olympic spot.)
Keep in mind, CONCACAF is also introducing the W Gold Cup in 2024, which means the women’s calendar is growing significantly and needs to be looked at in the big picture.
Will CONCACAF qualifying tournaments double up in the future? That depends, I’m told, mainly on what happens with the FIFA international calendars once they expire—in 2024 for the men and 2025 for the women. Only then will we know how often youth World Cups take place and how that fits with future Olympic Games. And only then will we know if the women’s World Cup moves to a once-every-two-years event. (The proposal for a biennial men’s World Cup is now dead.)
Really happy to see the membership is growing! Love the content and looking forward to more wC buildup with Landon and Witty!
Love the site!