It's not easy to understand the structure of the Fed Cup. The following text is my attempt to clarify how the Fed Cup groups are formed. I tried to make my explanation as simple as possible by dividing it into short paragraphs.
Out of 89 nations that entered the 2006 Fed Cup, 16 qualified for the prestigious World Group and World Group II (eight countries are in each of these two groups).
- About World Group
The four teams that win their World Group first round tie will stay in the World Group the next year.
The four teams that lose in the first round play the World Group I Play-Offs against the four nations that won in World Group II.
The four countries that win World Group I Play-Offs will be in the World Group the following year; the four countries that lose will be in World Group II.
- About World Group II
As I have already explained, the four teams that win their World Group II ties will compete in the World Group I Play-Offs, and those that win these Play-Offs will compete in the World Group I the following year.
The four nations that lose their World Group II ties will face winning nations from Group I Zonal competitions, in the World Group II Play-Offs.
The four nations that win their World Group II Play-offs will be in the World Group II the following year; the four losers will begin the next year in Group I Zonal events.
- About Zonal Competition
Zonal Competition is below the level of the World Group and World Group II. There are three zones:
- American Zone
- Asia/Oceania Zone
- Europe/Africa Zone
Each zone has two groups: Group I (higher group), Group II (lower group); the Europe/Africa Zone has also Group III.
All groups play a round robin competition. Each year, two best teams from the Europe/Africa Zone and the winners of the American Zone and Asia/Oceania Zone play in the World Group II Play-Offs against those that lost their World Group II ties.
Winners of groups two and three in each zone get promoted to a higher group, while the losers get relegated (unless they are playing in the lowest group already). (sources: Fed Cup Official Website, Wikipedia)