Last year, the IFF Central Board approved a change to the playing system for the U19 World Championships, based on a proposal from the IFF Rules & Competition Committee (RACC). There will no longer be A- & B-divisions, but rather 16 teams playing in four groups, divided by ranking and ballot.
– The aim of the change is to increase the possibility for teams to reach the top eight, but also to stay in the top eight. With the A- & B-division system there has been just one team that has been relegated/promoted each time, and often the relegated team is the same one that receives promotion at the next event, creating a yo-yo effect for some countries between A- & B-divisions, IFF Competition Manager, Mr. Stefan Kratz explains.
In the new system, which will be played for the first time at the Women’s U19 WFC in 2020, rather than the 4th placed teams in the A-division groups playing each other for relegation, and the 1st placed teams in B-division playing each other for promotion, these teams will play cross-over matches to determine their placings for the next event. This gives the possibility for two teams (rather than only one) to go up or down.
The 4th placed teams from group A and B will play qualifying matches against the 1st placed teams in group C and D. The winners of these matches will be placed in the top eight for the next event, while the losers will be placed in the lower eight. This change moves the U19 WFC closer to the playing system that is used for adult WFCs, however it means that the U19 WFC final round is still played in five days and that only a team within the top eight can win the title.
In regards to the effect on qualification for the next event, this will not change – it will remain that the top nine placed teams will directly qualify for the next U19 WFC, however, this does make the 9th place match one of the most important of the tournament. All other remaining places will be determined by regional quotas &/or qualification tournaments.
The Women’s U19 WFC 2020 will be played in Uppsala, Sweden, from 6th – 10th May. After the qualification event in September 2019, a ballot will take place to decide the groups. For information on the registered teams read the news article on the record number of participating teams.
Example of matches after the group stage:
Day 1 of play-offs / placement matches:
15th place: 4th grp C – 4th grp D
13th place: 3rd grp D – 3rd grp C
11th place: 2nd grp C – 2nd grp D
5th place: 3rd grp A – 3rd grp B
Qualification 1: 4th grp A – 1st grp D
Qualification 2: 4th grp B – 1st grp C
Semi-final 1: 1st grp A – 2nd grp B
Semi-final 2: 1st grp B – 2nd grp A
Day 2 of play-offs / placement matches:
9th place: Loser Q1 – Loser Q2
7th place: Winner Q1 – Winner Q2
3rd place: Loser Semi 1 – Loser Semi 2
Final: Winner Semi 1 – Winner Semi 2