CONCACAF announced on Thursday details for the 2023 edition of the confederation’s flagship club competition, the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL).
The 15th edition of the SCCL – which precedes a new CONCACAF club ecosystem launching in 2023-24 and includes the participation of 16 clubs from eight CONCACAF member associations – is scheduled to begin the second week of March 2023.
CONCACAF said the official draw, which will determine each club’s path to the final and the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup (FCWC), is scheduled for Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m., ET.
“Fans will be able to follow and enjoy the made-for-tv draw and all four rounds of the competition through the Confederation’s TV partner networks, including TUDN | ViX (USA-Spanish), Fox Sports Mexico (Mexico-Spanish), ESPN (Central America, Caribbean, and South America), and other local partners,” CONCACAF said.
For other territories, they will be available on the Official CONCACAF App (all subject to territory restrictions), CONCACAF said.
To date, it said 15 of the 16 clubs, which will participate in next year’s tournament, have qualified through their domestic leagues and cup competitions, as well as the 2022 Scotiabank Concacaf League (SCL).
CONCACAF said the 16th participating club will be the 2022 MLS Cup champion. The MLS Cup is scheduled to be played on Nov. 5, 2022.
The list of competing clubs is: Canada (1): Vancouver Whitecaps FC; Costa Rica (1): LD Alajuelense; El Salvador (1): Alianza FC Haiti (1): Violette AC; Honduras (3): CD Olimpia, Motagua FC, RCD España; Mexico (4): Atlas FC, CF Pachuca, Club Leon, Tigres UAN; Panama (1): Tauro FC; and United States (4): Los Angeles FC, Orlando City SC, Philadelphia Union, and the 2022 MLS Cup champions.
CONCACAF said if the 2022 MLS Cup champion is a Canadian club or a club that has already qualified for the 2023 SCCL, then the slot will be awarded to Austin FC as the highest-ranked US-based club not already qualified, according to the 2022 MLS Supporters’ Shield standings.
The 2023 SCCL matchups will commence with the round of 16 in March, followed by the quarterfinals and first leg semifinals in April, and the return leg semifinals and first leg final in May. CONCACAF said.
It said the all-decisive return leg final, where the region’s new champion will be crowned, will take place June 4, 2023.
Round of 16: March 7-9 (first legs) and March 14-16 (second legs); Quarterfinals: April 4-6 (first legs) and April 11-13 (second legs); Semifinals: April 25-27 (first legs) and May 2-4 (second legs); and Finals: May 31 (first leg) and June 4 (second leg).
For all rounds of the competition, CONCACAF said the pairings will be determined by the competition’s bracket.
The home club for the return leg of each series will be determined per round as follows: Round of 16: Clubs from Pot 1 (highest ranked); Quarterfinals: Clubs from the round of 16 matchups 1, 3, 5, and 7; Semifinals and Final: Best performing clubs in the earlier rounds of the competition, based on wins, draws; and, if required, goal difference.
CONCACAF said its Director of Competitions Carlos Fernandez will conduct the draw alongside former players from the region.
The official draw will be executed using a double-blind system and four pots.
Pots 1 and 2 will contain the spheres with the names of the 16 participating clubs, and Pots A and B will contain the spheres with the bracket positions for the round of 16.
Based on the 2023 SCCL, clubs will be distributed in Pots 1 and 2 as follows: Pot 1: Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Atlas FC, CF Pachuca, Club Leon, Los Angeles FC, Orlando City SC, Philadelphia Union, 2022 MLS Cup Champions; Pot 2: LD Alajuelense, Alianza FC, Violette AC, CD Olimpia, Motagua FC, RCD España, Tigres UANL, Tauro FC.
The round of 16 bracket positions will be divided into Pots A and B as follows: Pot A: A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8; Pot B: B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, B8.
CONCACAF said the draw will begin by randomly selecting a sphere from Pot 2, followed by a sphere from Pot B to confirm the club’s round of 16 bracket position.
The same process will apply for the remaining clubs in Pot 2, always drawing a club, followed by a bracket position from Pot B.
Once the eight clubs in Pot 2 have been assigned to a round of 16 bracket position, the first sphere from Pot 1 will be randomly drawn, followed by a bracket position sphere from Pot A, CONCACAF said.
It said the same procedure will apply for all Pot 1 spheres.
At the end of the draw, each round of 16 matchup will feature one club from each pot and no more than one club from each country (per competition regulations, clubs from the same country cannot face each other in the round of 16).
In September 2021, CONCACAF announced that from 2023/24 onwards, the CONCACAF Champions League will be expanded to include 27 clubs and five rounds – Round 1, round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals and final.
Furthermore, CONCACAF said three regional cups (North America, Central America and Caribbean) will replace the Scotiabank CONCACAF League and will qualify clubs to the expanded Confederation-wide Champions League.