CONCACAF Champions League
(2008 in current format)
|Region||North, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF)|
|Number of teams||16 (from 9 or 10 associations)|
|Related competitions||FIFA Club World Cup|
|Current champions||Pachuca (5th title)|
|Most successful club(s)||América (7 titles)|
|Website||CONCACAF Champions League|
|2016–17 CONCACAF Champions League|
The CONCACAF Champions League is an annual continental club football competition organized by CONCACAF for the top football clubs in North, Central America and the Caribbean. The winner of the CONCACAF Champions League qualifies for the FIFA Club World Cup. The tournament is officially known as the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League due to sponsorship reasons.
The tournament's current format uses a knockout format, though the tournament had a group stage prior to the 2018 tournament. Unlike its European and South American counterparts, the winners of the CONCACAF Champions League do not automatically qualify for the following season's competition.
The competition was originally known as the CONCACAF Champions' Cup when it was first organized in 1962. The title has been won by 28 different clubs, 17 of which have won the title more than once. Mexican clubs have accumulated the highest number of victories, with 31 titles in total. The second most successful league has been Costa Rica's Primera División with six titles in total. Mexican side América are the most successful club in the competition's history, having won the tournament seven times, followed by fellow Mexican-side Cruz Azul with six titles. The most successful non-Mexican club is Saprissa of Costa Rica with three titles. The only four teams to successfully defend the trophy are all Mexican: América, Cruz Azul, Pachuca and Monterrey. The current champions of the competition are Pachuca, who defeated Tigres UANL 2–1 on aggregate in the final.
- 1 Competition format
- 2 History
- 3 Qualification
- 4 Stadium standards
- 5 Sponsorship
- 6 Finals
- 7 Records and statistics
- 8 Awards
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The tournament currently employs a 16 team knockout format and is played between February and May. Each round consists of a two-leg home-and-away series with the winner determined by aggregate goal differential. Fifteen teams qualify automatically based on domestic performance, along with the winners of the CONCACAF League, played at the end of the previous calendar year.
Prior to 2018, the tournament had two parts — a group stage held from August to October, and a knockout phase held from March to May of the following year. The group stage consisted of 24 teams playing in eight groups of three teams each, with each team playing the other two teams in its group twice. United States and Mexican sides could not be drawn into the same group. The winners of each of the eight groups advanced to the quarterfinals. Each phase of the knockout rounds (quarterfinals, semifinals, finals) consisted of a two-leg home-and-away series with the winner determined by aggregate goal differential. Seeding in the knockout phase was determined by performance during the group stage.
Prior to the 2012–13 season, the competition had involved four groups of four, with one Mexican team and one U.S. team in each group. A preliminary round was used to reduce the number of teams from 24 to 16.
The competition was initially created as a possible measure to enter the South American Copa Libertadores, a competition organized by CONMEBOL. Prior to 2008, the tournament was officially called the "CONCACAF Champions' Cup", but was usually referred to simply as the "Champions' Cup". The competition has had several different formats over its lifetime. From 1962 until 1995, the finalists, or clubs participating in a final round, would be decided by clubs who qualify via two separate brackets: a Caribbean Island qualifier and a Northern/Central American qualification competition. Initially, only the champions of the North American leagues participated. In 1971, the runners-up of a few North American leagues began to join and the tournament began to be expanded, incorporating round-robin group phases and more teams. After the creation of the United States' Major League Soccer, the competition became a straight knockout competition from 1997 until it was revamped into the current tournament in 2008.
Champions' Cup Era (1962–2008)
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), 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 (2008–2017)
The CONCACAF Executive Committee at their 2006 November meeting decided to "act upon" a proposal—first delineated in 2003 by then Head of Special Projects Mel Brennan—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 March and April 2008. Then, a newly expanded Champions League tournament was conducted starting in August 2008 and concluding in May 2009. The initial setup involved 24 teams and featured a Preliminary Round contested by 16 teams to reduce the field to 16 teams, which were separated into four groups of four teams. After the Group Stage, the Championship Round are held from the Quarterfinal Round onward.
Since 2012, the 24 teams have been divided into eight groups of three teams. The first placed teams qualify for the quarter finals. The quarter finals, semi finals and final are played over two legs.
New CONCACAF competition platform (2018– )
Beginning with the 2017–18 edition, 31 club teams will compete in CONCACAF competitions. Sixteen teams compete in a new tournament played from August to December, called the CONCACAF League. The winners of that tournament join 15 other teams in the Champions League, played between February and May of the next calendar year. 
A total of 16 teams participate in the CONCACAF Champions League: nine from the North American Zone (from three associations), at least five from the Central American Zone (the champions of Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, and El Salvador), and at least one team from the Caribbean Zone (the champions of the CFU Club Championship). The remaining berth goes the winners of the CONCACAF League, played between 13 teams from the Central American Zone and 3 from the Caribbean Zone.
Nine from the North American Zone:
One club from the Caribbean Zone:
Five from the Central American Zone:
One additional team from either the Central American or Caribbean Zones
Clubs may be disqualified and replaced by a club from another association if the club does not have an available stadium that meets CONCACAF regulations for safety. If a club's own stadium fails to meet the set standards then it may find a suitable replacement stadium within its own country. However, if it is still determined that the club cannot provide the adequate facilities then it runs the risk of being replaced.
North American Zone
Nine teams from the North American Football Union qualify to the Champions League. Mexico and the United States are each allocated four berths, the most of any of CONCACAF's member associations, while Canada is granted one berth in the tournament.
For Mexico, the winners and runners-up of the Liga MX Apertura and Clausura tournaments earn berths in Pot 3 of the tournament's group stage.
For the United States, three berths are allocated through the Major League Soccer (MLS) regular season and playoffs (the MLS Cup winner, the Supporters' Shield winner, and the other regular season conference winner); the fourth berth is allocated to the winner of its domestic cup competition, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. If a Canada-based team occupies any MLS-allocated berth, or any U.S-based team qualifies for the Champions League by more than one method, the Champions League place is allocated to the U.S.-based team with the best MLS regular season record which has failed to otherwise qualify.
Since Canada hosted the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, the Canadian Championship was moved from April–May to April–August (with no matches occurring between May and August), overlapping with the start of the Champions League. Therefore, for the 2015–16 tournament only, the lone Canadian berth into the tournament, in Pot 1, was given to the best Canadian team in the MLS regular season. The setup will be reverted for the 2016–17 tournament, where once again the Voyageurs Cup competed for in the Canadian Championship, earns the lone Canadian berth into the tournament (starting from the 2015 Canadian Championship, the winner earns the berth in the next calendar year instead of the same calendar year as in previous tournaments).
Central American Zone
Five teams from the Central American Football Union qualify to the Champions League: one berth for each of Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama and El Salvador.
If one or more clubs is precluded, it is supplanted by a club from another Central American association. The reallocation is based on results from previous Champions League tournaments.
If the Caribbean qualifier is precluded, they are supplanted by the runners-up of the CFU Club Championship.
The final berth goes to the winners of the CONCACAF League. Sixteen teams participate in this tournament: 13 from the Central American Zone (two berths each from Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, and Nicaragua and one from Belize) and 3 from the Caribbean Zone (the runners-up, third, and fourth place teams from the CFU Club Championship).
If a club fails to meet the standards for its home stadium, the club must find a suitable stadium in its own country, and if the club fails to provide the adequate facilities, it runs the risk of being replaced by another team. Real Esteli of Nicaragua failed stadium requirements and was replaced by another team for the 2009–10 and 2010–11 seasons. Estadio Independencia in Nicaragua has since been renovated, including upgrades to stadium lighting, and Nicaraguan teams now participate. The qualifying team from Belize has failed stadium requirements and has been replaced by another team in each season from 2009–10 through 2014–15.
If one or more of the five 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. If the Caribbean qualifier is precluded, they are supplanted by the runners-up of the CFU Club Championship.
During Champions League era:
|Rank||Date||Host Club||Visitor Club||Venue||Attendance|
|1||April 8, 2015||Club América||Club Sport Herediano||Estadio Azteca, Mexico City||66,208|
|2||April 29, 2015||Montréal Impact||Club América||Stade Olympique, Montreal||61,004|
|3||April 22, 2015||Club América||Montreal Impact||Estadio Azteca, Mexico City||56,783|
|4||February 23, 2009||Montréal Impact||Santos Laguna||Stade Olympique, Montreal||55,571|
|5||March 7, 2012||Toronto FC||LA Galaxy||Rogers Centre, Toronto||47,658|
|6||February 24, 2016||Seattle Sounders FC||Club América||CenturyLink Field, Seattle||42,836|
|7||March 4, 2015||Club América||Deportivo Saprissa||Estadio Azteca, Mexico City||40,688|
|8||March 3, 2015||Montréal Impact||Pachuca CF||Stade Olympique, Montreal||38,104|
|9||March 18, 2015||Montréal Impact||Alajuelense||Stade Olympique, Montreal||33,675|
|10||May 1, 2013||C.F. Monterrey||Santos Laguna||Estadio Tecnologico, Monterrey||33,667|
|11||March 7, 2013||Tigres UANL||Seattle Sounders FC||Estadio Universitario, San Nicolás||32,810|
The CONCACAF Champions League has several corporate sponsors: Scotiabank (which has been a title sponsor of the Champions League since 2014-2015), Miller Lite, MoneyGram, Maxxis Tires, and Nike. The sponsors' names appear on the boards around the perimeter of the field, and boards for pre-game and post-game interviews and press conferences. Nike is also the official provider of game balls and referee uniforms.
Champions' Cup Era
- The abbreviation "aggr." represents the aggregate score across two matches.
1 No final match was held; the championship was decided by a final round.
2 Championship won due to withdrawal and/or disqualification of all other teams.
3 Universidad de Guadalajara, Comunicaciones and Defence Force were all declared joint winners after the 1978 final tournament was cancelled due to administrative problems and disagreements on match dates.
Champions League Era
|2008–09||Atlante||2 – 0||Cruz Azul|| Puerto Rico Islanders
|2009–10||Pachuca||2 – 2
(Away goals 1 – 0)
|Cruz Azul|| Toluca
|2010–11||Monterrey||3 – 2||Real Salt Lake|| Cruz Azul
|2011–12||Monterrey||3 – 2||Santos Laguna|| Toronto FC
|2012–13||Monterrey||4 – 2||Santos Laguna|| Los Angeles Galaxy
|2013–14||Cruz Azul||1 – 1
(Away goals 1 – 0)
||5 – 3
||Montreal Impact|| Alajuelense
||4 – 1
||Tigres UANL|| Querétaro
||2 – 1
||Tigres UANL|| FC Dallas
- All scores listed are aggregate scores across the two home-and-away legs, unless otherwise noted.
Records and statistics
- When sorted by years won or lost, the table is sorted by the year of each team's most recent win or loss.
Overall performances by country
|Rank||Club||Titles||Runners-up||Years Won||Years Runners-up|
|1||Monterrey||3||0||2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13|
|3||Cruz Azul||1||2||2013–14||2008–09, 2009–10|
|6||Santos Laguna||0||2||2011–12, 2012–13|
|Tigres UANL||0||2||2015–16, 2016–17|
|7||Real Salt Lake||0||1||2010–11|
Performances by country
|1||Mexico||9||7||8||Monterrey (2011, 2012, 2013), América (2015, 2016), Pachuca (2010, 2017), Atlante (2009), Cruz Azul (2014)||Cruz Azul (2009, 2010), Santos Laguna (2012, 2013), Tigres UANL (2016, 2017), Toluca (2014)||UNAM (2010, 2012), Santos Laguna (2009, 2016), Toluca (2010), Cruz Azul (2011), Tijuana (2014), Querétaro (2016)|
|2||United States||0||1||3||Real Salt Lake (2011)||Los Angeles Galaxy (2013), Seattle Sounders (2013), FC Dallas (2017)|
|3||Canada||0||1||2||Montreal Impact (2015)||Toronto FC (2012), Vancouver Whitecaps (2017)|
|4||Costa Rica||0||0||4||Alajuelense (2014, 2015), Saprissa (2011), Herediano (2015)|
|5||Puerto Rico||0||0||1||Puerto Rico Islanders (2009)|
Best results by country
|Rank||Country||Best Results||Best Teams (Years)|
|1||Mexico||Champions (x9)||Monterrey (2011, 2012, 2013), América (2015, 2016), Pachuca (2010, 2017), Atlante (2009), Cruz Azul (2014)|
|2||United States||Runners-up||Real Salt Lake (2011)|
|Canada||Runners-up||Montreal Impact (2015)|
|4||Costa Rica||Semi-finals (x4)||Alajuelense (2014, 2015), Saprissa (2011), Herediano (2015)|
|5||Puerto Rico||Semi-finals||Puerto Rico Islanders (2009)|
|6||Honduras||Quarter-finals (x4)||Marathon (2009, 2010), Olimpia (2011, 2015)|
|7||Panama||Quarter-finals (x3)||Arabe Unido (2010, 2014, 2017)|
|8||Guatemala||Quarter-finals (x2)||Comunicaciones (2010), Xelaju (2013)|
|9||El Salvador||Quarter-finals||Isidro Metapan (2012)|
- Nicaragua has an automatic berth in the Champions League, but no Nicaraguan club has advanced to the knockout rounds or even won a match in Champions League group play.
Results by league
Results are listed in the Wins-Losses-Draws format. Numbers in parentheses are average points (3 for a win, 1 for a draw, 0 for a loss).
Results include matches from preliminary rounds, group play, and knockout play. * Penalty shoot-out considered a separate event from the match which preceded it.
|CCL Season||Mexico||United States||Costa Rica||Honduras||Canada||Guatemala||Panama||El Salvador|
|Season||Golden Boot||Golden Ball||Golden Glove|
|2008–09||Javier Orozco (7)||Cruz Azul|
|2009–10||Ulises Mendivil (9)||C.F. Pachuca|
|2010–11||Javier Orozco (11)||Cruz Azul|
|2011–12||Humberto Suazo (7)||Monterrey||Oribe Peralta||Santos Laguna|
|2012–13||Nicolás Muñoz (6)
Carlos Quintero (6)
| Isidro Metapán
|Aldo de Nigris||Monterrey||Oswaldo Sánchez||Santos Laguna|
|2013–14||Raúl Nava (7)||Toluca||Mariano Pavone||Cruz Azul||Alfredo Talavera||Toluca|
|2014–15||Darío Benedetto (7)
Oribe Peralta (7)
|América||Darío Benedetto||América||Evan Bush||Montreal Impact|
|2015–16||Emanuel Villa (6)||Querétaro||Rubens Sambueza||América||Hugo González Durán||América|
|2016–17||Hirving Lozano (8)||Pachuca||Franco Jara||Pachuca||Alfonso Blanco||Pachuca|
|Season||Best Young Player[nb 1]||Fair Play Award|
|2008–09||First awarded in 2014–15||First awarded in 2013–14|
|2016–17||Hirving Lozano||Pachuca||FC Dallas|
- Award was known as the "Bright Future Award" for 2014–15 season.
- CONCACAF Champions League U13
- CONCACAF Cup Winners' Cup
- CONCACAF Giants Cup
- CONCACAF League
- Football continental championships
- Interamerican Cup
- North American SuperLiga
- "Scotiabank Joins CONCACAF as Official Partner". CONCACAF.com. December 9, 2014.
- "Official Logo Unveiled for Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League". CONCACAF.com. February 10, 2015.
- CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE REGULATIONS 2013/2014, Rule 3.7, http://www.concacaf.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/CCL1314-Regulations060313pdf.pdf
- What is CCL?, Portland Timbers. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
- "CONCACAF ExCo meeting in New York". CONCACAF. November 14, 2007. Archived from the original on December 25, 2007.
- "We Are the Champions (League)". The Washington Post.
- "CONCACAF expands club competition field, implements new Champions League format" (Press release). CONCACAF. January 23, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
- CONCACAF. "ISSUU - Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League 2015-16 Regulations by CONCACAF". Issuu.
- "CONCACAF Executive Committee tightens stadium standards for next year's Champions League". CONCACAF Official site. November 7, 2008. Retrieved November 12, 2008.
- MLSsoccer.com, Real Esteli FC vs. Sporting Kansas City | CONCACAF Champions League Preview, August 6, 2013, http://www.mlssoccer.com/ccl/news/article/2013/08/06/real-esteli-fc-vs-sporting-kansas-city-concacaf-champions-league-preview
- Pinolero Sports, Luces, ahora sí, en el Independencia (article in Spanish), February 18, 2011, http://pinolerosports.com/titulares/11-titulares/751-luces-ahora-si-en-el-independencia.html
- "Champions League: Montreal Impact near sellout for home leg of CCL final at Olympic Stadium", MLSsoccer.com, Oliver Tremblay, April 17, 2015.
- "CONCACAF final: Club America too much for Impact". cbc.ca. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
- Moffat, Rick. "Rick Moffat Status". Twitter. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
- "Club America breaks SCCL attendance record". CONCACAF.com. April 10, 2015.
- "Match Center Seattle Sounders vs Club America". Retrieved February 24, 2016.
- "Champions League". CONCACAF.
- "Individual Awards Winners Announced for Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League 2015/16". CONCACAF. April 28, 2016. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
- "Twitter @TheChampions". CONCACAF. April 30, 2015.
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