Following criticism of the 2015 format that delivered a lot of blow out and dead rubbers, the FA has decided to revert back to the original format.
Back in 2011, the original format was a knock-out tournament with eight teams. Ties were decided on the final league placement as follows : 1v8 2v7 3v6 4v5. There were (unproven) rumors at the time that a certain team did not put all the effort in their last league game in order to secure a home tie in the Conti Cup.
The new format is as follows and looks very close to the format used in the 2015/16 FA WSL Development League Cup:
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 the teams from the second tier given home advantage for the fixtures.
Note: after the preliminary round there will be 9 FA WSL 1 sides in the hat and 7 FA WSL 2 sides. In all logic Doncaster Belles should be at home alongside the 7 FA WSL 2sides against the remaining 8 FA WSL 1 sides.
As per our friend from http://www.womenssoccerscene.co.uk/ :
FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup 2016 dates
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