- Starting with 2024 edition, CCL to expand with 27 participating clubs and additional knockout round
- Three regional cup competitions to take place prior to five round Concacaf Champions League
- New ecosystem delivers more official regional club football that fans want to see
Concacaf has announced 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, 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, a Confederation-wide expanded 27-club Concacaf Champions 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. 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," said Concacaf President and FIFA Vicepresident Victor Montagliani.
“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," added Montagliani.
This exciting announcement follows Concacaf’s confirmation earlier this year that it’s Champions League would expand. After further conversations with its Member Associations, Leagues and other stakeholders, Concacaf has enhanced the format by introducing regional cups and an additional knockout round. 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.
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 5 will receive a bye to the Round of 16.
The qualification process for the clubs will be divided per region as follows:
Canadian, Mexican and USA clubs will qualify for the Concacaf Champions League via their domestic leagues and Member Association Cups (US Open Cup and Canadian Championship).
Additionally, Liga MX and MLS clubs will also qualify via an expanded Leagues Cup, which will in 2023 become part of Concacaf’s new club ecosystem and will incorporate all clubs from both leagues.
In total, 18 North American clubs will participate in the Concacaf Champions League. They will be determined as follows:
Round One (15 North American clubs): Five Liga MX clubs*, four MLS clubs*, two Canadian Premier League clubs*, two Leagues Cup clubs (second and third place finishers), the US Open Cup Winner and the Canadian Championship winner.
Round of 16 (3 North American clubs): Liga MX winner*, MLS Cup winner and Leagues Cup winner
*A detailed qualification criteria will be communicated in due course.