The 2015 tournament has clearly exposed the gap between the WSL 1 and WSL 2 sides. As of today, the WSL 2 sides have taken 0 point off the WSL 1 sides. The gap between the divisions has widened if you compare this season with the previous one. It might be time to change the format for the 2016 season.
First with the introduction of Sheffield in the WSL 2, there will be 19 teams involved in the Cup. An odd number means things will have to change. Here are the different formats that could be used :
a) Keep the same structure, add Sheffield to Group two for geographical reason. Keep the same qualifying format ie top two go through plus the two best third placed team. With the proviso that the third placed team in Group two does not take into account the result of their game against the bottom team of Group two when comparing with the third placed teams from Groups one and three.
b) Keep the group structure but with four groups instead of three. Three groups of five teams and one group of four teams with the top two teams qualifying for the quarter-finals.
c) Go to a knock-out stage straightaway. 13 teams through to the last 16 round with teams ranked 6th to 10th at the end of the FA WSL 2 season in the hat with Sheffield in a preliminary round. The three winners go in the hat for the Round of 16 draw. Seeding could be introduced as well, if the FA wants to protect the “big” teams 😉
As usual the biggest problem will be to integrate all the League and Cup game sinto the international calendar. The good news is there will be no players involved with the Olympics in Rio so the need for a mid season break is non existent.