We are reaching the end of the group stage tonight. A quick reminder of the format for those who have not heard much of the competition. The cup is open to the WPL National, Southern and Northern Division team. Unlike any normal competition, the format was decided in the middle of the season (!) It is as follows: 7 group of 4 or 5 teams. Top 2 teams qualify as well as the 2 best 3rd placed team. As usual no communication from the FA about the way to rank all the 3rd placed team.
I personally assumed it would the usual system used by UEFA/FIFA so use results against team placed 1,2 and 4 or only against 1 and 2. Well it is not, ranking is based on results against 2nd and 4th team.
There is no perfect system to be fair when you select the best of the rest teams but what was flawed was making the draw for the last 16 round before the group games were finished. If you know who you are likely to play or can avoid well, good for you.
The other problem is game congestion that led to a team withdrawing off the cup and also some other game also forfeited as a one off. Because it is women’s football and there is not much media interested in it besides womens soccerscene the guardian and she kicks, this kind of thing go without debate but it is a shame.
I know in term of logistics in it is impossible to get 7 groups final games on the same day but the for the competition’s integrity sake, it is a bit annoying that team going into games tonight looking to qualify could know in advance if they need to win, draw or loose and how many goals they need to score to play against certain teams in the last 16 round. All you need to do is a 30 minutes calculation and permutation on a sheet of paper, something a primary school kid can do.
Good luck to all the team involved tonight and I hope they will qualify. The last 16 round is played on the same day as the FA Cup quarter final except for Blackburn and Sunderland’s tie to be played a week later as they are involved in the FA Cup.