MIAMI – Concacaf Thursday announced a new format for its flagship club competition, the Concacaf Champions League.

From 2023 onwards a regionalized group stage will be introduced as part of a major revamp of the tournament that will boost club football across the confederation.

The new Concacaf Champions League group stage will be played in the fall each year and will include four groups of North American clubs, four groups of Central American clubs and two groups of Caribbean clubs.

It will be followed by a 16-team knockout stage played in the spring.

This new format will see each edition conclude with a single leg final to crown a regional club champion. The winner of the competition will also qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup.

Concacaf Champions League group stage – four groups of North American clubs

Twenty clubs from Canada, Mexico and USA will qualify into the Concacaf Champions League through performance in domestic leagues and cup competitions, including one qualification slot through the Leagues Cup.

The 20 clubs will be drawn into four groups of five. Each club will play a total of four group stage matches, two at home and two away.

Following group stage play, the four group winners and the four group second-place finishers will qualify to the Concacaf Champions League knockout stage. Those eight clubs will be joined by a further three North American clubs, who will qualify via a play-in round that will follow the group stage.

Concacaf Champions League group stage – four groups of Central American clubs

A total of 20 clubs from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama will qualify into the Concacaf Champions League through performance in domestic leagues and a new Central American cup competition.

The 20 clubs will be drawn into four groups of five. Each club will play a total of four group stage matches, two at home and two away.

Following group stage play, the four group winners and the four group second-place finishers will qualify for a play-in, the four winners of which will qualify for the Concacaf Champions League knockout stage.

Concacaf Champions League group stage – two groups of Caribbean clubs

A total of 10 clubs from the Caribbean will qualify into the Concacaf Champions League group stage. Of those 10, eight will qualify directly through professional leagues in the Caribbean region and two (2) through a new Caribbean cup which will include representation from across the Caribbean.

The 10 clubs will be drawn into two groups of five. Each club will play a total of four group stage matches, two at home and two away.

Following group stage play, the two group winners will qualify for a play-in match, the winner of which will qualify for the Concacaf Champions League knockout stage.

EXPANDING COMPETITION: Concacaf Champions League revamped for 2023-24

Concacaf to launch Central American Cup and Caribbean Cup

As part of this new club competitions ecosystem, Concacaf will work with its member associations in Central America and the Caribbean to launch two new cup competitions: A Central American cup and a Caribbean cup. In addition to qualification through domestic leagues, both cup competitions will include qualification slots into the new Concacaf Champions League group stage that commences in the fall of 2023.

“This is a hugely important development for Concacaf and for club football in our region. The Concacaf Champions League has grown impressively in recent years, but this new format will transform the competition and significantly increase its relevance throughout our confederation and globally,” said Concacaf President and FIFA Vice President, Victor Montagliani.

“It will elevate clubs and leagues throughout Concacaf with more exciting regional matchups that we know fans want to see. It will also provide a very competitive pathway to the FIFA Club World Cup as clubs from our region strive to succeed on the international stage”, added Montagliani.

On the formation of a Central American cup and a Caribbean Cup as part of this new Concacaf club competitions structure, Montagliani added, “We are also very excited by the prospect of new Central American and Caribbean Cup competitions as part of this new ecosystem. They will provide great matchups between rival clubs and will further drive development of the club game within the respective regions”.

Further detail on the numbers of clubs which will qualify for the new Concacaf Champions League through specific league and cup competitions will be communicated by in due course.

The current format of the Concacaf Champions League – the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League – will remain in place for the 2021, 2022 and 2023 editions. In 2023 it will be a transition year with the last edition under the current format played in the spring, prior to the group stage of the new format commencing in the fall.

The current champion is Tigres UANL (Mexico) who won the 2020 edition after narrowly defeating Los Angeles FC (USA) 2-1 in a compelling final played in Orlando, Florida, as part of a rescheduled competition that was centralized due to COVID-19. Tigres is currently representing the Concacaf region at the FIFA Club World Cup in Doha, Qatar.