MIAMI - CONCACAF announced Friday that the champion of the 2013 Gold Cup will qualify for a playoff match to decide which national team will represent the region in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup™.
The champion of the 2015 Gold Cup will become the second team to qualify for the single-game playoff, scheduled to take place in the second semester of that same year at a site to be determined.
"This novel CONCACAF Gold Cup playoff format for the FIFA Confederations Cup is an essential and perhaps long due adjustment required to enhance the crown jewel of national team competitions within our Confederation," said Jeffrey Webb, President of CONCACAF. "This innovative resolution will allow the Champion of every single Gold Cup edition to have the same competitive opportunity to represent CONCACAF at the international level."
The new CONCACAF qualifying process, approved by the Confederation's Executive Committee, assures that both editions of the Gold Cup in each 4-year cycle have the same importance from a competitive perspective.
The change adds further importance to this year's edition of the Gold Cup, which is already garnering significant attention among fans. With more than three months to go, initial sales to the 2013 Gold Cup have far exceeded the numbers from the 2011 edition. To purchase tickets, please click here.
In the case that the same nation emerges victorious at both the 2013 and 2015 editions of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, that team will qualify directly to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Taking place every two years, the Gold Cup has become the region's most popular soccer event, routinely drawing capacity crowds and millions of TV viewers across North, Central America and the Caribbean.
Mexico will anchor Group A, which begins play on July 7, in a doubleheader that kicks off with Canada taking on Martinique, 5:30pm EST, at the Rose Bowl. Honduras will lead Group B the following day, facing Haiti at Red Bull Arena, with El Salvador meeting Trinidad & Tobago earlier in the evening. The United States will play Belize on July 9 at Portland's JELD-WEN Field in Group C, preceded by an encounter between Costa Rica and Cuba.
The 2013 Gold Cup quarterfinals will be played in Atlanta's Georgia Dome and Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium, both first-time hosts in the tournament, on July 20 and July 21, respectively. The semifinals will head to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX on Wednesday, July 24. The complete schedule can be found by clicking here.
With a mix of historic venues and brand new state of the art soccer facilities that average 57,000 spectators, the 2013 edition of the Gold Cup promises to provide fans both in stadium and at home with unforgettable atmospheres. In 2011, the tournament drew more than 600,000 fans throughout 13 match-days, including nine sell-outs. Taking place every two years, the Gold Cup has established itself as the region's most popular national team tournament, routinely drawing capacity crowds and millions of television viewers across the region. It features the confederation's best players from the top 12 nations.
All games will be broadcast live on TV in the United States. FOX Sports Media Group, for the first time ever, is televising all 25 matches of the event, with three slated to be shown on FOX Sports, including the final on Sunday, July 28 (4:00 PM ET) from historic Soldier Field in Chicago. Long time broadcast partner Univison will again be transmitting all games on its Spanish language platforms throughout their network.
In addition, Fútbol de Primera will broadcast all matches on Spanish-language radio through its more than 100 affiliates in the United States.