Concacaf Champions League changes its name – we explain the tournament’s new format

Two days after Club León claimed the Concacaf Champions League title, the soccer bosses of the region have decided to rename the tournament: Starting in 2024, officials want you to call the competition the Concacaf Champions Cup.

We also suggest the ConcaCup.

The rebranding is focused on creating a new and proper identity, according to Concacaf officials. Something we translate as something to avoid confusion and/or unnecessary comparisons with the UEFA Champions League.

Concacaf Champions Cup format

By the way, the change is not only about words. The competition will also have more teams (27), a brand-new format and $5 million in prizes.

So, what is the new format?

Like the recently deceased Champions League, the Concacaf Champions Cup will continue to be played in a direct elimination knockout stage format through 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," said Concacaf in a press release.

Of the 27 clubs in the tournament, 22 will start playing in Round One, while the other five will advance automatically to the Round of 16. 

Now, the big question: How do teams qualify for the competition? Take note:

  • 6 clubs from the new Central American Cup, a tournament played among 20 teams from that area of the continent
  • 3 clubs from the Concacaf Caribbean Cup, a competition held between the 10 best teams of the region
  • 3 clubs from the Leagues Cup, the mega challenge between Liga MX and MLS that is starting this summer
  • 5 clubs from MLS
  • 2 clubs from the Canadian Premier League
  • 1 club from the US Open Cup
  • 1 club from the Canadian Championship

6+3+3+6+5+2+1+1 = 27

If you are curious, the five clubs going right to the Round of 16 will be:

  • Champion Central American Cup
  • Champion Caribbean Cup
  • Champion Leagues Cup
  • Liga MX Champion (Apertura or Clausura)
  • MLS Champion

"We are incredibly excited about this new ecosystem and for the first edition of the new and expanded Concacaf Champions Cup next year," said Concacaf General Secretary Philippe Moggio.

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