Concacaf announced today the new format to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League for teams from Central America, Canada and the Caribbean that will be implemented for the 2019 edition that will begin in July 2019.
In the release, Concacaf states that as of the date, teams from Central America, Canada and The Caribbean are only going to be able to play in the Champions League-where the clubs from Mexico, and MLS are- having to play before in the Concacaf League whose first two editions were won by Olimpia (2017) and Club Sport Herediano (2018).
The 2017-18 Clausura champion Marathon CD after defeating Motagua in penalty kicks, is going to go down in history as the last Honduran team that was able to qualify directly to the Concacaf Champions League when Concacaf communicated a new format.
Until the most recent edition, which was contested by Motagua of Honduras and Herediano of Costa Rica, the second and third best placed teams in the local competitions of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama; the two top teams from Nicaragua; the champion of Belize and the second and third place teams from the CFU Club Championship and the winner of the playoff between the fourth place team from the Caribbean and the champion of the Concacaf Caribbean Club Shield participated for a total of 16 teams.
From this point on, a total of 12 teams from Canada, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, the Caribbean with lower scores in their respective leagues will play a preliminary round of direct elimination from which the top 10 will advance to the round of 16 where the 1st and 2nd place teams from Costa Rica, Panama and Honduras, the most relevant from El Salvador and Guatemala and Nicaragua plus the second place team from the Caribbean Club Championship will advance to fill the 22.
Concacaf clarifies that the top five Central American associations will have three representatives, but this could change according to the development of the teams in the rivalry.
Simultaneously, the winner of the Caribbean Club Championship will qualify directly for the Concacaf League, as will the winner of Canada’s new professional league.
How will they qualify for the Scotiabank SCCL CONCACAF Champions League?
The Concacaf League champion and the top five (6) will qualify to the Concacaf Champions League to join the MLS and Liga MX teams, which will increase the number of competitors to 32 between the Concacaf League and the Champions League.
New format to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League (SCL)
Preliminary Round (The 12 teams with the lowest score according to locality in the general table, the top 10 will advance to the round of 16 of the Concacaf League.
- Belize (1)
- Canada (2)
- El Salvador (2) and (3)
- Nicaragua (2)
- Guatemala (2) (3)
- Costa Rica (2)
- Honduras (3)
- Caribbean Club Shield (4) or Concacaf Cup Shield winner
- Panama (3)
Round of 16: (10 teams with the highest regular season score plus the Caribbean Champion will play directly in the Round of 16 of the Concacaf League (SCL))
- Costa Rica (1) (2)
- Panama (1) (2)
- Honduras (1) (2)
- El Salvador (1)
- Guatemala (1)
- Nicaragua (1)
- Caribbean Club Championship (2)
When will the playoffs to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League be played?
The preliminary round (12 teams with the lowest scores in their own tournaments, will start direct playoffs in July 2019.
The round of 16, the top 10 from the preliminary round and the top 10 from Central America, Panama, the Caribbean champion and Canada, are going to play the round of 16 in August.
Quarterfinals will be in September
Semifinals in October
Final in November, where the new champion and the top five in the overall standings will qualify for the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League will be announced.