2023/24 UEFA Women’s Nations League explained

UEFA is launching a Women's Nations League
UEFA is launching a Women's Nations League / FABRICE COFFRINI/GettyImages

The inaugural UEFA Women’s Nations League begins in September 2023 and while the men's competition is relatively established, it is a brand-new addition to the women’s calendar.

The tournament replaces often meaningless international friendlies, ensuring that every country will have competeitive action on a level playing field. Elements of the Nations League also impact qualifying for the World Cup, Olympics and Euros.

However, the campaign is not the easiest to understand. With three separate leagues, promotion and relegation battles, it is easy to get lost in the complicated nature of another UEFA tournament.

How does the 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Nations League work?

The UEFA Women’s Nations League begins with each member association being divided into three leagues (A-C) based on their ranking. The top 16 teams enter into League A with the rest being divided into Leagues B and C. Within these leagues, teams will play in smaller groups of three or four, playing each team home and away.

Depending on where teams stand at the end of the league stage will determine their progression. The winners of the League A groups will go to the finals, consisting of two single-leg semi-finals, a third place playoff and an overall final.

The standings of the remaining teams will determine their position for promotion and relegation between the tiers. The winners of Leagues B and C will be promoted to the next level whilst the teams that finish at the bottom of the pile in the groups in League A and League B will be relegated as will the lowest-ranked third-place team in League B.

If you thought that was complicated, there’s one more set of playoffs between with teams that finish third in the groups in League A and the teams that finish second in League B. The teams will contest in a two-legged tie with the victors earning a place in League A.

Similarly to the above, excluding the third-place League B team that is automatically relegated, the remaining third place teams in League B face the second place teams from League C to fight for a place in League B.

When is the 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Nations League draw?

A draw takes place to determine which teams will face each other in the League stage with this year’s draw taking place on 2 May at UEFA HQ in Nyon, Switzerland.

2023/24 UEFA Women’s Nations League groups

The teams in League A have already been decided based on the UEFA coefficient rankings and were assigned to four pots based on their seedings.

The groups will contain one team from each pot meaning that England could not face Germany, France or Sweden.

A maximum of two of Norway, Iceland and Sweden can be drawn in the same group due to winter venue restrictions.

League A

  • Pot 1: England, Germany, France, Sweden
  • Pot 2: Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark
  • Pot 3: Italy, Belgium, Austria, Iceland
  • Pot 4: Switzerland, Wales, Portugal, Scotland

England could potentially face any team from pots 2-4

League B

  • Pot 1: Republic of Ireland, Poland, Czech Republic, Finland
  • Pot 2: Serbia, Slovenia, Northern Ireland, Romania
  • Pot 3: Ukraine, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovakia, Hungary
  • Pot 4: Greece, Croatia, Belarus, Albania

Ukraine and Belarus cannot be drawn in the same group

League C

  • Pot 1: Malta, Israel, Azerbaijan, Turkey, North Macedonia
  • Pot 2: Kosovo, Montenegro, Luxembourg, Estonia, Moldova
  • Pot 3: Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Bulgaria, Cyprus
  • Pot 4: Faroe Islands, Georgia, Armenia, Andorra

Due to winter venue restriction, a maximum of two of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Faroe Islands may be drawn in the same group. To minimise travel burden, Kazakhstan can be drawn in a with only one of Andorra, Faroe Islands and Malta. Azerbaijan and Armenia cannot be drawn in the same group.

How the 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Nations League affects Olympics

The Women’s Nations League final will also determine which European nations qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The top two eligible teams in the 2023/24 Nations League finals will qualify, excluding hosts France as they automatically qualify for a place.

England will have to reach the final of the Nations League to be in with a chance for a trip to Paris, although they would compete at the Olympics as ‘Great Britain’ and players from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are eligible for selection.

When does the 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Nations League start?

The Nations League kicks off in September 2023 with the first round of League matches taking place just a month after the conclusion of the Women’s World Cup in August. The matches correlate to the adjoining international windows for the women’s game, with the Nations League concluding before the Christmas break. The Euro 2025 qualifiers that follow on then take place in spring 2024.

2023/24 UEFA Women’s Nations League dates

  • League phase: Matchday 1 - September 20-22, 2023
  • League phase: Matchday 2 - September 23-26, 2023
  • League phase: Matchday 3 - October 25-27, 2023
  • League phase: Matchday 4 - October 28-31, 2023
  • League phase: Matchday 5 - November 29 - December 1, 2023
  • League phase: Matchday 6 - December 2-5, 2023
  • Finals: Semi-finals TBC, 2024
  • Finals: Third-place play-off TBC, 2024
  • Finals: Final TBC, 2024
  • Promotion and relegation - first leg TBC, 2024
  • Promotion and relegation – second leg TBC, 2024