The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) announced today the competition format of the Two-Stage Softball World Cups, the new tournament system unveiled two years ago. The system will be used for the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup, the WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup and the WBSC U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup.
Under the new two-stage format, the World Cups are played over two consecutive years, with the Group Stage the first year with the Finals following the year after.
Two-Stage Softball World Cups: Group Stage Competition Format
- 18 teams feature in the Group Stage spread across three groups
- The top two teams from each group in the Group Stage advance to the Finals
- Each group in the Group Stage will start with a single round robin.
- The best four teams from the round robin will advance to play-offs where the top two sides play each other with a ticket to the Finals at stake.
- The loser of the first play-off game will then play against the third v fourth winner for the second spot in the Finals.
Two-Stage Softball World Cups: Finals Stage Competition Format
- The Finals will be played by eight teams – top two teams from each group plus two wild cards**
- They also start with a single round robin.
- The top two teams will then play off for the Title of World Champion, while the number three and four placed teams will play for the bronze medal.
The first event to be held under this new system is the XVII WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup, which will play the Group Stage in Europe from 11 to 26 July in Fingal-Dublin, Ireland (Group A); Valencia, Spain (Group B); and Castions di Strada and Buttrio, Italy (Group C). The finals will be staged in Italy in the summer of 2024.
The XVIII Men’s Softball World Cup and the XV U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup Group Stages are scheduled for 2024.
** Criteria for the designation of the wild cards for the Finals are (in order):
- Criteria 1: One Wild Card spot secured for host country;
- Criteria 2: Top third-place team(s) in the Group Stage, based on final standings from the previous edition of the World Cup;
- Criteria 3: Top third-place team(s) in the Group Stage based on the highest position in the WBSC Rankings at the end of the previous calendar year.