• Wednesday May 14, 2008

    Qualifying Format Unveiled for 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League

    CONCACAF unveiled today the qualification format for the inaugural 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League™.

    The new CONCACAF Champions League™ will be comprised of 24 teams, representing each of CONCACAF's regions. The CONCACAF Champions League™ will feature four teams from Mexico and USA; two clubs each from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama; and one representative from Canada, Belize, and Nicaragua and three teams from the Caribbean.

    The following is the qualification process, which will be completed by mid-July 2008, in preparation for the start of the Preliminary Round of the 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League™ this coming August:

    NORTH ZONE
    CANADA: Impact de Montreal, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC will play a home-and-away round-robin tournament from 27 May to 22 July 2008, with winner advancing as the Canadian representative (CAN1) to the CONCACAF Champions League™.

    Canada Qualifier
    CAN1: Tournament winner between Impact de Montreal, Toronto FC & Vancouver Whitecaps FC

    MEXICO: The tournament champions and runner-ups of the 2007 Apertura and 2008 Clausura seasons progress to the CONCACAF Champions League™. If a team occupies more than one of the Mexican slots, then the next highest club in the respective regular season's overall standings will take the lower seeded spot into the CONCACAF Champions League™. Atlante FC and Pumas UNAM have qualified to the 2008-2009 CONCACAF Champions League™ as the winner and runner-up, respectively, of the 2007 Torneo Apertura.

    Mexico Qualifiers
    MEX1: 2007 Torneo Apertura Champion (Atlante FC)
    MEX2: 2008 Torneo Clausura Champion (TBD)
    MEX3: 2007 Torneo Apertura Runner-up (Pumas UNAM)
    MEX4: 2008 Torneo Clausura Runner-up (TBD)

    USA: The USA's representatives will be the MLS (Major League Soccer) Cup Champions; the MLS Regular Season Winner; the MLS Cup Runner-up; and the US Open Cup Champion. Results from the 2007 MLS season will be used to qualify teams for the 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League. Houston Dynamo (USA1), D.C. United (USA2) and New England Revolution (USA3) have qualified in the first three slots.
    Since New England was also the US Open Cup Champion (USA4), Chivas USA move up to the fourth spot (USA 4), as the team with the next highest point total from the MLS regular season standings.

    USA Qualifiers
    USA1: 2007 Major League Soccer Champion (Houston Dynamo)
    USA2: 2007 Major League Soccer's Regular Season Winner (D.C. United)
    USA3: 2007 MLS Cup Runner-up (New England Revolution)
    USA4: 2007 MLS Regular Season Runner-up^ (Chivas USA)
    ^Slot allocated to the 2007 US Open Cup Champion, but New England Revolution already earned USA3, therefore Chivas USA qualifies as the next highest team (overall points) from 2007 MLS Regular Season

    CENTRAL AMERICAN ZONE
    BELIZE: The recently crowned 2007-08 RFG Insurance League Champion, Hankook Verdes advance from Belize (BLZ1) to this year's CONCACAF Champions League™.

    Belize Qualifier
    BLZ1: 2007-08 BPFL/RFG Insurance Cup Champions (Hankook Verdes)

    COSTA RICA: The champions of the Torneos Invierno and Verano qualify to the Champions League. If a team wins both tournaments (Invierno & Verano) they automatically take the CRC1 spot, while the CRC2 place goes to the team with the next best overall record in the regular season standings from the Torneo Verano. If a different champion is crowned in each tournament (Invierno, Verano) then a two-game playoff will determine CRC1 and CRC2. Deportivo Saprissa has secured a spot in the 2008-2009 CONCACAF Champions League™ after winning the 2007 Torneo de Invierno.

    Costa Rica Qualifiers
    CRC1: Playoff Winner, champion of Torneo Invierno vs. champion of Torneo Verano, or if applicable, the champion of both season tournaments
    CRC2: Playoff Runner-up, champion of Torneo Invierno vs. champion of Torneo Verano, or if applicable, the second place team in the Torneo Verano, if same champion for both Invierno and Verano
    (Deportivo Saprissa qualified as Torneo Invierno winner)

    EL SALVADOR: The champions of the Liga Mayor Torneos Apertura and Clausura qualify to the Champions League. If a team wins both tournaments (Apertura & Clausura) they automatically take the SLV1 spot, while the SLV2 place goes to the team with the next best overall record in the regular season standings from the Torneo Clausura. If a different champion is crowned in each tournament (Apertura, Clausura) then a two-game playoff will determine SLV1 and SLV2. CD Luis Angel Firpo has secured a place in the 2008-2009 CONCACAF Champions League™ after winning the Liga Mayor 2007 Apertura.

    El Salvador Qualifiers
    SLV1: Playoff Winner, champion of Torneo Apertura vs. champion of Torneo Clausura, or if applicable, the champion of both season tournaments
    SLV2: Playoff Runner-up, champion of Torneo Apertura vs. champion of Torneo Clausura or if applicable, the second place team in the Torneo Clausura if same champion for both Apertura and Clausura
    (CD Luis Angle Firpo qualified as Liga Mayor Apertura Winner)

    GUATEMALA: The champions of the Torneos Apertura and Clausura qualify to the Champions League. If a team wins both tournaments (Apertura & Clausura) they automatically take the GUA1 spot, while the GUA2 place goes to the team with the next best overall record in the regular season standings from the Torneo Clausura. If a different champion is crowned in each tournament (Apertura, Clausura) then a two-game playoff will determine GUA1 and GUA2. Deportivo Jalapa qualified for the 2008-2009 CONCACAF Champions League™ after winning the Torneo Apertura 2007.

    Guatemala Qualifiers
    GUA1: Playoff Winner, champion of Torneo Apertura vs. champion of Torneo Clausura, or if applicable, the champion of both season tournaments
    GUA2: Playoff Runner-up, champion of Torneo Apertura vs. champion of Torneo Clausura, or if applicable, the second place team in the Torneo Clausura if same champion for both Apertura and Clausura
    (Deportivo Jalapa qualified as Torneo Apertura Winner)

    HONDURAS: The champions of the Torneos Apertura and Clausura qualify to the Champions League. If a team wins both tournaments (Apertura & Clausura) they automatically take the HON1 spot, while the HON2 place goes to the team with the next best overall record in the regular season standings from the Torneo Clausura. If a different champion is crowned in each tournament (Apertura, Clausura) then a two-game playoff will determine HON1 and HON2. CD Marathon has secured their place in the 2008-2009 CONCACAF Champions League™ after claiming the Torneo de Apertura 2007.

    Honduras Qualifiers
    HON1: Playoff Winner, champion of Torneo Apertura vs. champion of Torneo Clausura, or if applicable, the champion of both season tournaments
    HON2: Playoff Runner-up, champion of Torneo Apertura vs. champion of Torneo Clausura or if applicable, the second place team in the Torneo Clausura if same champion for both Apertura and Clausura
    (CD Marathon qualified as Torneo Apertura Winner)

    NICARAGUA: The winner of a two-game playoff between the champion of the Campeonato Nacional Apertura and champion of the Campeonato Nacional Clausura will qualify to the CONCACAF Champions League™. If a team wins both tournaments (Apertura & Clausura) they automatically qualify as NCA1. Real Esteli FC won the 2007 Campeonato Nacional Apertura. Should Real Esteli FC win the 2008 Clausura, then no playoff will be required and they will represent Nicaragua in the 2008-2009 CONCACAF Champions League™.

    Nicaragua Qualifier
    NCA1: Playoff Winner, champion of the Campeonato Nacional Apertura vs. champion of the Campeonato Nacional Clausura, or if applicable, the champion of both season tournaments
    (Apertura Winner - Real Estelí FC)

    PANAMA: The champions of the Torneos ANAPROF Clausura and Apertura qualify to the Champions League. If a team wins both tournaments (Apertura & Clausura) they automatically take PAN1 spot, while the PAN2 place goes to the team with the next best overall record in the regular season standings from the Torneo Apertura. If a different champion is crowned in each tournament (Apertura, Clausura) then a two-game playoff will determine PAN1 and PAN2. San Francisco FC qualified for the 2008-2009 CONCACAF Champions League™ after winning the Torneo de Clausura 2007.

    Panama Qualifiers
    PAN1: Playoff Winner, champion of Torneo Clausura vs. champion of Torneo Apertura, or if applicable, the champion of both season tournaments
    PAN2: Playoff Runner-up, champion of Torneo Clausura vs. champion of Torneo Apertura or if applicable, the second place team in the Torneo Apertura if same champion for both Clausura and Apertura
    (San Francisco FC qualified as ANAPROF Clausura Winner)

    CARIBBEAN ZONE
    The three Caribbean representatives will come from the annual CFU (Caribbean Football Union) Club Championship. The Caribbean qualifiers to the 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League™ will come from the 2007 CFU Club Championship. The 2007 Caribbean Champion, Harbour View FC of Jamaica, and Runner-up Trinidad & Tobago's Joe Public FC have qualified as CFU1 and CFU2, respectively. The third Caribbean qualifier (CFU3) will be determined through a home-and-away playoff between the CFU Club Championship semifinalists, Puerto Rico Islanders and San Juan Jabloteh of Trinidad & Tobago to be held in May 2008.

    Caribbean Qualifiers
    CFU1: Harbour View FC of Jamaica
    CFU2: Joe Public FC of Trinidad & Tobago
    CFU3: Playoff Winner - Puerto Rico Islanders vs. San Juan Jabloteh of Trinidad & Tobago (first-leg: 9 May in Puerto Rico; second-leg: 25 May in Trinidad & Tobago)

    CONCACAF Champions League™ Format
    Eight clubs (MEX1, MEX2, USA1, USA2, CRC1, GUA1, HON1, SLV1) will be seeded directly to the Group Stage of the CONCACAF Champions League™. The sixteen remaining teams will be paired in eight home-and-away match-ups in the Preliminary Stage which will take place on 26-28 August 2008 and 2-4 September 2008.

    The Preliminary Stage winners will join the eight seeded teams in the Group Stage that consists of four groups of four teams each. The teams in each group will play each other in a round-robin system during six match dates (three home games, three away games) from 16 September 2008 - 30 October 2008.

    The top two clubs from each of the four groups will advance to the Quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. These eight teams will be drawn into four Quarterfinal pairings to play home-and-away match-ups in February 2009. The four Quarterfinal winners will then play in two Semifinal home-and-away match-ups in March and April 2009 with the two Semifinal winners squaring-off in the home-and-away 2008-2009 CONCACAF Champions League™ Final in late April 2009.

    The CONCACAF Champions League™ winner will qualify as the CONCACAF representative to the 2009 edition of the FIFA Club World Cup.

    2008-09 CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE™ - Calendar of Events
    2008
    11 June: 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League™ Draw
    26-28 August: Preliminary Round - Game 1
    2-4 September: Preliminary Round - Game 2
    16-18 September: Group Stage - Game 1
    23-25 September: Group Stage - Game 2
    30 September - 2 October: Group Stage - Game 3
    7-9 October: Group Stage - Game 4
    21-23 October: Group Stage - Game 5
    28-30 October: Group Stage - Game 6
    November: Draw for Stage 3 - Elimination Round

    2009
    24-26 February: Quarterfinal, Game 1
    3-5 March: Quarterfinal, Game 2
    17-19 March: Semifinal, Game 1
    7-9 April: Semifinal, Game 2
    21-23 April: Final, Game 1
    28-30 April: Final, Game 2
    December: FIFA Club World Cup

    All teams have qualified to the 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League™

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