|File:CONCACAF CL logo.png|
1962 (Champions Cup)|
2008 (Champions League)
Central America, Caribbean
|Number of teams||24|
|Current champions||22x20px Monterrey (2nd title)|
|Most successful club(s)||
22x20px Cruz Azul|
22x20px Club América
(5 titles each)
|Website||CONCACAF Champions League|
|33px 2012–13 Champions League|
The CONCACAF Champions League (Spanish: Concacaf Liga Campeones; French: Ligue des champions de la CONCACAF) is the annual international club football championship for teams from the CONCACAF region (North America, Central America, and the Caribbean). The winner of the CONCACAF Champions League qualifies for the FIFA Club World Cup.
Prior to 2008, the top-level competition for CONCACAF club teams was the CONCACAF Champions' Cup, sometimes called simply the Champions' Cup. The tournament was played in a variety of formats over the years. In 2008, CONCACAF announced a change in both name and format, inviting twenty-four teams to participate in a preliminary round, group stage, and knockout tournament called the CONCACAF Champions' League.
Between 2008–09 and 2011–12, the tournament was played as a twenty-four team tournament with a preliminary round, followed by a sixteen-team group stage (four groups of four), followed by an eight-team home-and-away single-elimination tournament. In early 2012, CONCACAF announced a new format for the 2012–2013 CONCACAF Champions' League. Under the new format, the preliminary round would be eliminated, and group play would consist of eight groups of three teams each, with each group winner advancing to the quarterfinals.
The title has been won by 27 different clubs, 11 of which have won the title more than once. The all-time record-holders are Cruz Azul and América, who have won the competition five times each. Mexico's Primera División is, by far, the most successful league, amassing 27 wins in the tournament. Until 2011, when Major League Soccer team Real Salt Lake reached the finals, each CONCACAF Champions League final had been an all-Mexican affair. The Mexican Primera División also holds the record for most appearances in the final of both the Champions Cup and Champions League as well as the highest number of winning clubs.
In the Champions' Cup era, the second most successful league has been Costa Rica's Primera División, while in the Champions League era, the second most successful league has been the United States and Canada's Major League Soccer.
Champions' Cup era (1962–2008)Edit
The competition's former format, a knockout tournament called the Champions' Cup, was played under a variety of formats. The last format, used from 2004 to 2008, had eight teams competing – four from the North American zone (two from Mexico, two from the United States/Canada), three from the Central American zone, and one from the Caribbean zone. Since 2005, the champion of the competition also gained entry into the FIFA Club World Cup, giving clubs an added incentive for a strong participation and greater interest from fans. Also, the Champions' Cup Runner-up would be one of the three CONCACAF invitees to the Copa Sudamericana.
Champions League era (2008–present)Edit
The CONCACAF Executive Committee at their 2006 November meeting decided to "act upon" a proposal at their next meeting by the CONCACAF Secretariat to develop the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup into a larger "Champions League" style event. The CONCACAF Executive Committee reported on November 14, 2007 some of the details. The previous Champions' Cup format was used as planned in the Spring of 2008. Then, a newly expanded Champions League tournament was conducted starting in August 2008 and concluding in May 2009. The setup involves 24 teams initially and features a Preliminary Round contested by some of the teams to reduce the field to 16 teams, which are separated into 4 groups of four teams. After the Group Stage, the Championship Round are held from the Quarterfinal Round onward.
The current format features 24 teams in total.
From the North American Zone:
From the Central American Zone:
- 2 clubs from 22x20px Costa Rica
- 2 clubs from 22x20px El Salvador
- 2 clubs from 22x20px Guatemala
- 2 clubs from 22x20px Honduras
- 2 clubs from 22x20px Panama
- 1 club from 22x20px Nicaragua
- 1 club from 22x20px Belize
From the Caribbean Zone:
The four teams qualifying from the United States are the two MLS Cup finalists, the winner of the MLS Supporters' Shield (awarded to the team with the best regular season record), and the winner of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Should the same team qualify multiple times and/or should a Canadian team occupy one or more of the MLS qualifying places, then the American MLS team(s) with the best regular season records not otherwise qualified will be entered.
The team qualifying from Canada is the winner of the Amway Canadian Championship.
Stadium standards Edit
If a club fails to meet the standards for its home stadium (all-seater stadium), this club must find a suitable stadium in its own country. If said club fails to provide the adequate facilities, it will run the risk of being replaced.
- Central America: If one or more of the twelve Central American clubs is precluded, it will be supplanted by a club from the best Central American league, based on results from the current Champions League.
- Caribbean: If any Caribbean club is precluded, it will be supplanted by the club who finished 4th in the CFU Club Championship.
New for the 2012-13 format, all 24 teams in the event will be drawn straight into the group stage. Each of the eight groups will have three teams. United States and Mexican sides cannot be drawn into the same group. Each group winner will then advance to the quarterfinals, which proceed unchanged from previous versions of the event.
<div id="1" />1 No final match was held; the championship was decided by a final round. <div id="2" />2 Championship won due to withdrawal and/or disqualification of all other teams. <div id="3" />3 Universidad de Guadalajara, Comunicaciones and Defence Force were all declared joint winners after the final tournament was cancelled due to administrative problems and disagreements on match dates.
Records and statistics Edit
Top-ten clubs Edit
|Rank||Team||Wins||Runners-up||Years won||Years runner-up|
|1||22x20px Cruz Azul||5||2||1969, 1970, 1971, 1996, 1997||2009, 2010|
|2||22x20px América||5||0||1977, 1987, 1990, 1992, 2006|
|3||22x20px Pachuca||4||0||2002, 2007, 2008, 2010|
|4||22x20px Saprissa||3||2||1993, 1995, 2005||2004, 2008|
|5||22x20px UNAM||3||1||1980, 1982, 1989||2005|
|6||22x20px Transvaal||2||3||1973, 1981||1974, 1975, 1986|
|22x20px Alajuelense||2||3||1986, 2004||1971, 1992, 1999|
|8||22x20px Toluca||2||2||1968, 2003||1998, 2006|
|22x20px Olimpia||2||2||1972, 1988||1985, 2000|
|22x20px Defence Force||2||2||1978, 1985||1987, 1988|
Top-ten countries Edit
Top countries (Champions League era: 2008-present) Edit
|1||22x20px Mexico||4||3||5|| Monterrey (2012, 2011), |
Pachuca (2010), Atlante (2009)
|Cruz Azul (2010, 2009), Santos (2012)||UNAM (2012, 2010), Cruz Azul (2011), Toluca (2010), Santos (2009)|
|2||22x20px United States||0||1||0||Real Salt Lake (2011)|
|3||22x20px Canada||0||0||1||Toronto FC (2012)|
|4||22x20px Costa Rica||0||0||1||C.D. Saprissa (2011)|
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 
- ↑ "We Are the Champions (League)". The Washington Post. http://blog.washingtonpost.com/soccerinsider/2007/11/we_are_the_champions_league.html.
- ↑ "Qualifying Format Unveiled for 2008–09 CONCACAF Champions League". CONCACAF Official site. 2008-05-14. http://www.concacaf.com/view_article.aspx?id=4171. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
- ↑ "CONCACAF Executive Committee tightens stadium standards for next year's Champions League". CONCACAF Official site. 2008-11-07. http://www.concacaf.com/page/ConfederationDetail/0,,12813~1858355,00.html. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
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