Softball World Cups will be split into group and finals stages in different years, the WBSC has announced ©WBSC

Details of the new two-stage Softball World Cups have been announced by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).

The system, unveiled in principle two years ago, will be used for the WBSC Women's Softball World Cup, the WBSC Men's Softball World Cup and the WBSC Under-18 Women's Softball World Cup.

Under the two-stage format, the World Cups are played over two consecutive years, with the group stage taking place in the first year and the finals the year after.

The group stages will feature 18 teams spread across three groups, with the top two teams from each advancing to the finals.

Each group will start with a single round robin, with the best four teams advancing to play-offs where the top two sides will play each other for a place in the final.

The loser of the first play-off game will then play against the third v fourth winner for the second spot in the finals.

The finals will be played by eight teams - the top two teams from each group plus two wildcards - and will also start with a round robin.

The top two teams will then play-off for the title of world champion, while the third and fourth-placed teams will play for the bronze medal.

The first event to be held under this new system is the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup, which will play the group stage in Europe from July 11 to 26, using the venues of Fingal, in Dublin, for Group A, Valencia for Group B and Castions di Strada and Buttrio in Italy for Group C.

The finals will be staged in Italy in the summer of 2024.

The Men's Softball World Cup and the Women's Softball World Cup group stages are scheduled for 2024.

In terms of the criteria for wildcard qualification, one spot will be secured for the host country.

The other criteria apply to top third-placed teams in the group stage, final standings from the previous edition of the World Cup and upon the highest position reached in the WBSC rankings at the end of the previous calendar year.