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Friday 28 Apr 2023
Northern Ireland to play in League B in new UEFA Women’s Nations League

The draw for the new UEFA Women's Nations League is being staged on Tuesday (2 May).

Northern Ireland are set to compete in League B in the inaugural competition, which kicks off this autumn.

With a similar format to the men's UEFA Nations League, the 51 participating teams are being divided into three leagues (two of 16 and the other of 19) on the basis of their positions in the UEFA women's national team coefficient rankings.

The latest rankings, issued after the completion of the group stage of the UEFA European qualifying competition for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, mean Northern Ireland have been placed in League B Pot 2 for next week’s draw.

The league stage is set to determine which four teams from League A progress to finals next year which will also act as Europe's 2024 Olympic qualifiers.

And it will further determine promotion and relegation between the leagues ahead of qualifiers for UEFA Women's Euro 2025 which will initially be in a similar league format.

In next week’s draw at UEFA HQ in Switzerland, League B Pot 2 will also feature Serbia, Slovenia and Romania, which means Northern Ireland will not be facing any of those nations later this year.

Opponents in League B will instead include one team from Pot 1, which contains Republic of Ireland, Poland, Czechia and Finland.

The League B Pot 3 sides are Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia and Hungary, while the Pot 4 teams are Greece, Croatia, Belarus and Albania.

The draw will be broadcast live on from noon UK time on Tuesday.

The winners of the four League B groups will be promoted to League A for the Euro qualifiers.

The four second-placed teams will play against the third-placed teams in League A with the winners of each match playing in League A next time around and the defeated teams playing in League B.

The three best third-placed teams will play off against the three best-ranked second-placed teams of League C. The winners will play in League B for the European Qualifiers phase, while the defeated teams will play in League C.

The lowest ranked third-placed team and the four fourth-placed teams are set to be relegated to League C.

Matchdays one and two in the three leagues will take place between 20 and 26 September this year, while the next two fixtures are scheduled to be played from 25 to 31 October. Matchdays five and six are due to be staged between 29 November and 5 December.

The League A finals are pencilled in for 21 to 28 February next year, while promotion/relegation matches are set to be played over the same period in February.

The qualifiers for Women’s Euro 2025 will get under way in spring next year following the conclusion of the UEFA Women’s Nations League and will feature a league stage and final tournament play-offs.

The European Qualifiers league stage is played in the same format as the Nations League, with teams split into three leagues: League A with 16 teams, League B with 16 teams and League C with 19 teams. Each team's starting league position will be based on their results in the inaugural Women’s Nations League.