MIAMI -- CONCACAF announced Tuesday that the field at Belize’s FFB Stadium has been deemed unplayable, resulting in the removal of local club Belmopan Bandits from the 2014/15 CONCACAF Champions League.
Club Sport Herediano of Costa Rica will now participate in Group 7 in place of Belmopan Bandits.
CONCACAF inspected for the second time the playing surface at FFB Stadium on Sunday, August 10, encountering conditions that did not meet Champions League standards as described in the Regulations governing the competition.
Articles 2.2.1 f, 3.8 a, 4.2 b, 4.7 a. and section 10.1 of the 2014/15 CONCACAF Champions League Regulations address the obligations of participating teams to have a home venue that complies with CONCACAF standards. Article 10.1 states that all stadium facilities, including fields, must comply with specific standards to be used for international play.
The ruling means no CCL-compliant stadium is currently available in the country of Belize. As a result, Belmopan Bandits are disqualified. As Belize is a member of the Central American Football Union, its representative is replaced, via statute, by a team from the Central American region’s top-performing country in the previous edition of the Champions League.
Under those criteria, Costa Rica merited the extra berth by virtue of the performance of its clubs in the 2013/14 edition of the tournament. LD Alajuelense won its 2013/14 Champions League group and advanced to the semifinals of the event.
LD Alajuelense and fellow Costa Rican club Deportivo Saprissa are already participants in the current edition of the CONCACAF Champions League. Club Sport Herediano earns the third Costa Rican bid as the top cumulative point winner during the Costa Rican Winter 2013 and Summer 2014 Tournaments.
The club will now play in its fourth consecutive CONCACAF Champions League, after participating in the group stage in 2013/14 and reaching the knockout rounds during the 2012/13 edition. Herediano will debut in Group 7 next week, hosting Isidro Metapan. Kick off time and date will be announced shortly.