CONCACAF expands Champions League in the Caribbean

Victor Montagliani, FIFA vice-president and CONCACAF president, takes a question during a press conference Friday afternoon, Sept. 17, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Officials were touring the stadium as part of the FIFA World Cup 2026 Candidate Host City Tour.
Associated Press/Ben Gray

CONCACAF announced on Tuesday a new structure for its men’s club competitions ecosystem that will include an expanded CONCACAF Champions League and individual regional cup competitions in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

From 2023 onwards, CONCACAF said three regional cup competitions will be played in the fall of each year and will qualify clubs into the CONCACAF Champions League.

Following the conclusion of the three cups, CONCACAF said a Confederation-wide expanded 27-club CONCACAFChampions League will be played in the spring to crown the region’s best club.

“This is a hugely significant development for CONCACAF and for leagues and clubs in our region,” said CONCACAF President and FIFA Vice president, Victor Montagliani. “The CONCACAF Champions League has consistently grown in recent years and this new format will provide a major boost to the competition.

“Working collaboratively with our stakeholders we have been able to create a new calendar, which grows and enhances our Champions League and fully incorporates regional cup competitions,” he added. “This will elevate clubs and leagues from Concacaf and provide even more compelling regional rivalries.

“It will also provide more international relevance to our club competitions, and a very competitive pathway as clubs strive to qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup and succeed on the global stage,” Montagliani. Continued.

This new format of regional cups will allow for the three regions to crown their own champion, prior to the CONCACAF Champions League, which will see clubs compete to win the Confederation’s club title and qualify to the FIFA Club World Cup, CONCACAF.

It said the new CONCACAF Champions League will continue to be played in a direct elimination knockout stage format and will be composed of five rounds (round one, round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals and final).

The first four stages will include home and away play, while the Final, where CONCACAF’s Champion will be crowned, will be played as a single leg match on a weekend date.

Of the 27 clubs that will participate, 22 will begin play in Round One and five will receive a bye to the Round of 16, CONCACAF said.

For the Caribbean, clubs will qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League via a new Caribbean Cup that will include a Group Stage and a Knockout Stage.

At the conclusion of the Caribbean Cup, CONCACAF said three clubs will qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League and will begin play as follows: Round One (2 Caribbean clubs): Caribbean Cup second and third place finishers; Round of 16 (1 Caribbean club): Caribbean Cup Champion.

CONCACAF said the 10 clubs that will participate in the Caribbean cup will be determined via domestic league play for the professional Caribbean Leagues and the new Caribbean Football (CFU) Cup.

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