Concacaf announces qualification criteria for Confederation’s expanded Champions League starting in 2024
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Concacaf announces qualification criteria for Confederation’s expanded Champions League starting in 2024

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  • CCL will expand to include 27 clubs and an additional knockout round 
  • Three regional cups will take place prior to five round CCL as part of new Concacaf men’s club ecosystem 

Miami, FL – Concacaf has announced that its Council has approved the criteria for how clubs will qualify for the Confederation’s expanded Concacaf Champions League which begins in 2024. 

This important announcement has been made following extensive consultation with stakeholders, including Member Associations, leagues, and clubs.  

In September 2021, Concacaf announced that from 2023 onwards, three regional cup competitions will be played in the fall of each year and, along with other leagues and cups, will qualify clubs for a new expanded Concacaf Champions League.

The new Concacaf Champions League will include 27 clubs and more than 50 matches as the region’s top teams compete to be crowned club champion and qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup.  

The current champion is Seattle Sounders (MLS) who defeated Pumas UNAM (Liga MX) last month in front of a record 68,000+ crowd. The Sounders will represent Concacaf at the FIFA Club World Cup 2022. 

2024 CCL Format Summary and Qualification Criteria 

The new and expanded 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 each include home and away play, while the Final, where the region’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 five will receive a bye to the Round of 16. 

The qualification process for the clubs will be divided per region as follows:

North American Clubs

How Concacaf will allocate crossover qualification slots for the new Concacaf Champions League 

Due to North American clubs competing in multiple competitions which include qualification berths to the new Concacaf Champions League, the Confederation has agreed on the following regulations for clubs that finish in crossover qualification slots. 

Canadian Premier League: Should a club hold multiple CCL qualification slots, then the CPL club(s) which has accumulated the most regular season league points will earn the remaining slot(s).  

Canadian ChampionshipShould the Canadian Championship winner hold multiple CCL qualification slots, then the runner-up will fill the slot. Should the runner-up hold multiple CCL qualification slots, then the highest ranked Canadian Championship semifinalist will earn the slot. 

US Open Cup: Should the champion hold multiple CCL qualification slots, then the US Open Cup runner-up will earn the CCL slot. Should the US Open Cup runner-up hold multiple CCL qualification slots, then the next best MLS club which has accumulated the most regular season league points will earn the slot.

Liga MX: Should one (OR more) club(s) hold multiple CCL qualification slots, then the Liga MX club which has accumulated the most regular season aggregate league points (across the Apertura and Clausura) will earn the slot. 

MLS: Should one (OR more) club(s) hold multiple CCL qualification slots, then the MLS club, regardless of Conference, which has accumulated the most regular season league points will earn the slot. Under the new Concacaf Champions League format and qualification criteria, all MLS clubs (USA or Canada based) can qualify for the 2024 CCL, and future editions, through MLS slots.

Leagues Cup: Leagues Cup winner, runner-up and third place all qualify for the new expanded CCL. Regulations for how to manage crossover qualification slots from the Leagues Cup will be determined in due course, in advance of the start of that competition. 

Central American Clubs
 
The 20 Central American clubs participating in the Central American Cup will be divided into four groups of five teams.  

After round robin play, where each club will play every other club in their group once (a total of four matches, two at home and two away), the two best clubs in each group will advance to the knockout stage of the Concacaf Central American Cup.  
 
The knockout stage of the competition will be composed of four rounds (quarterfinals, semifinals, play-in, and final), with the semifinalists and two play-in winners (six clubs) advancing to the expanded Concacaf Champions League. The Central American Cup Champion will receive a bye to the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16.  

The number of slots per country and the qualification criteria for each slot for the 2023 Concacaf Central American Cup will be as follows (below graphic).

Domestic leagues in Central America will qualify 18 of the 20 clubs for the Central American Cup. The criteria for qualifying the two remaining clubs will be announced following further consultation.

Caribbean Clubs 

The 10 Caribbean clubs participating in the Concacaf Caribbean Cup will be divided into two groups of five teams.

After round robin play, where each club will play every other club in their group once (a total of four matches, two at home and two away), the two best clubs in each group will advance to the knockout stage of the Concacaf Caribbean Cup.

The knockout stage of the competition will be composed of three rounds (semifinals, third place play-in, and final), with the top champion, runner-up and third place finisher (three clubs) advancing to the expanded Concacaf Champions League. The Caribbean Champion will receive a bye to the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16.

The number of slots per country and the qualification criteria for each slot for the 2023 Concacaf Caribbean Cup will be as follows (below graphic). 

Domestic leagues in the Caribbean will qualify eight of the 10 clubs for the Caribbean Cup. The criteria for qualifying the two remaining clubs will be announced following further consultation.

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