This week, UEFA has finally announced the format, dates and venues to conclude the 2019/20 seasons of its Women’s Champions League, with a central location mini-tournament as well as the format and dates for the 2020/21 season, whose start has been pushed back by a few months because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
2019-20 UEFA Women’s Champions League (Final Eight)
Quarterfinals (one game) Aug. 21-22
Semifinals (one game) Aug. 25-26
Final (one game) Aug. 30
(All games will be played in Bilbao and San Sebastian, Spain.)
2020-21 UEFA Women’s Champions League
Qualifying Round (three games) Oct. 7-13
Round of 32 (two games) Nov. 11-12, Nov. 18-19
Round of 16 (two games) March 3-4, March 10-11
Quarterfinals (two games) March 23-24, March 31-April 1
Semifinals (two games) April 24-25, May 1-2
Final (one game) May 16, 2021, in Gothenburg, Sweden
It’s great to see that UEFA has prioritised concluding the 2019/20 WCL tournament (from August 21 to August 30). The central location will be in the Basque country of Spain (like the NWSL is doing in Utah for their Challenge Cup), and they will reduce home and away legs to just one match; something that will certainly heighten the intensity of the contests.
Of course, UEFA ha planned all this, prioritising the safety of the clubs, players and staff involved, as they only will have to make one trip, and stay in one hotel throughout the entirety of the event, as the two cities are about an hour’s drive apart.
Anyhow, England’s hopes in this tournament reside on Arsenal, as Chelsea and Manchester City were already eliminated. To summarise, Arsenal had knocked out Italian side Fiorentina and Czech Republic club Slavia Prague on their route to the last eight.
Meanwhile, this condensed format could also help some of the underdog sides such as Glasgow City, who’s playing VFL Wolfsburg in the quarterfinals, as they will only need one good result in a neutral venue rather than two good games against a powerhouse to spring an upset and advance. However, Arsenal and Glasgow City could still face the likes of Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, who are facing each other, on the semifinals. On the other side, there’s also the possibility of the four-time WCL champions Lyon, who will be playing Bayern Munich as soon as the competition begins to roll again.
In addition, teams will be allowed to register three new players for the remainder of the 2019/20 season, provided such players were already registered and eligible for the club since the last registration deadline (March 18, 2020). However, it will not be possible for clubs to register newly-transferred players. Five substitutions will be allowed in all the remaining matches in accordance with the temporary change to the Laws of the Game approved by FIFA, whereas the number of substitutions for the 2020/21 season will remain at three.
Furthermore, interesting fact is that Arsenal’s and Dutch striker Vivianne Miedema is the current scoring leader in the 2019/20 UEFA Women’s Champions League with 10 goals, including seven across both legs against Slavia Prague, so, she’ll be looking to continue the good run and claim the WCL’s golden boot for herself.
To conclude, and looking forward to the future, for the 2020/21 season, the qualification tournament and other rounds will start about two months later than usual. UEFA announced that the first stage will be with 40 teams, separated in the regular format used in past seasons (divided in groups of 10). Moreover, the central location will be in 10 selected venues, so again teams will only need to take one trip for the qualifying round.
(P.S: I just hope everyone is looking forward to it as much as I am; as I’ll definitely cover the whole tournament in the blog when it gets restarted)