CONCACAF Champions League
|Founded||1962 (2008 in its
|Region||North America (CONCACAF)|
|Number of teams||24|
|Current champions|| Cruz Azul
|Most successful club(s)|| Cruz Azul
|2014–15 CONCACAF Champions League|
The CONCACAF Champions League, originally known as the CONCACAF Champions' Cup, is an annual continental club football competition organized by the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) since 1962 for the top football clubs in the region. It is the most prestigious international club competition in North American football. The winner of the CONCACAF Champions League qualifies for the FIFA Club World Cup.
The tournament consists of two stages. The group stage is played from August to October, in which there are eight groups of three teams each. The eight group winners enter the knockout phase, which spans March through May. 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 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 30 titles. The second most successful league has been Costa Rica's Primera División with six titles in total. Mexican side Cruz Azul is the most successful club in the competition's history having won the tournament six times, followed by Mexican teams América with five titles and Pachuca with four titles. The only teams to successfully defend the trophy are Cruz Azul, Pachuca, and Monterrey. The reigning champions of the competition are Cruz Azul, after beating Toluca F.C. 1–1 on aggregate with an away goal.
- 1 Competition format
- 2 History
- 3 Qualifying
- 4 Finals
- 5 Records and statistics
- 6 Awards
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Each tournament has 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 consists 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 cannot be drawn into the same group. The winner of each of the eight groups advances to the quarterfinals. Each phase of the knockout rounds (quarterfinals, semifinals, finals) consist of a two-leg home-and-away series with the winner determined by aggregate goal differential. Seeding in the knockout phase is 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.
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 the 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–present)
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 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:
The MLS Cup winner, the winner of the MLS Supporters' Shield (the team with the best regular-season record) and the winner of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup receive three of the United States's four berths. Until 2013–2014, the fourth berth went to the losing MLS Cup finalist, but since then it has been awarded to the team with the next best regular season record in the opposite conference to the Shield winner. If the same team qualifies multiple times, or if a Canadian team occupies one or more of the MLS qualifying places, then the American MLS team(s) with the best regular-season records not otherwise qualified are entered.
The team qualifying from Canada is the winner of the Canadian Championship. Canadian sides can not qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League through MLS, even if they win the MLS Cup or the Supporters' Shield. A one-time exception to this rule is for the CONCACAF 2015-2016 Champions League, due to the shift in the timeframe of the Canadian Championship that year. Instead, the best Canadian team in the MLS 2014 regular season earns the lone Canadian berth for the 2015–16 tournament.
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 to the present.
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. If any Caribbean club is precluded, it will be supplanted by the club who finished 4th in the CFU Club Championship.
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||C.F. Atlante||2 – 0||Cruz Azul|| Santos Laguna
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|| UNAM
|2012–13||Monterrey||4 – 2||Santos Laguna|| Los Angeles Galaxy
Seattle Sounders FC
|2013–14||Cruz Azul||1 – 1
(Away goals 1 – 0)
|Toluca FC|| Tijuana
|2014–15||Tournament in progress|
|2015–16||Qualification in progress|
- All scores listed are aggregate scores across the two home-and-away legs, unless otherwise noted.
Records and statistics
Champions Cup Winners
|Team||Winners||Runners-up||Years won||Years runner-up|
|Cruz Azul||5||0||1969, 1970, 1971, 1996, 1997|
|América||5||0||1977, 1987, 1990, 1992, 2006|
|Saprissa||3||2||1993, 1995, 2005||2004, 2008|
|UNAM||3||1||1980, 1982, 1989||2005|
|Pachuca||3||0||2002, 2007, 2008|
|Alajuelense||2||3||1986, 2004||1971, 1992, 1999|
|Transvaal||2||3||1973, 1981||1974, 1975, 1986|
|Toluca||2||2||1968, 2003||1998, 2006|
|Olimpia||2||2||1972, 1988||1985, 2000|
|Defence Force||2||2||1978, 1985||1987, 1988|
|Los Angeles Galaxy||1||1||2000||1997|
^1975 title won as Atletico Espanol
Top ten countries (Champions Cup)
|1||Mexico||24||10||Cruz Azul (5), América (5), Pachuca (3), UNAM (3), Toluca (2), Necaxa (2), Atlante (1), Guadalajara (1), Puebla (1), Universidad de Guadalajara (1)||Toluca (2), Guadalajara (2), Monarcas Morelia (2), UNAM (1), Necaxa (1), Atlante (1), León (1)|
|2||Costa Rica||6||5||Saprissa (3), Alajuelense (2), Cartaginés (1)||Alajuelense (3), Saprissa (2)|
|3||El Salvador||3||1||Alianza (1), Águila (1), FAS (1)||Atlético Marte (1)|
|4||Suriname||2||8||Transvaal (2)||Robinhood (5), Transvaal (3)|
|5||Guatemala||2||3||Municipal (1), Comunicaciones (1)||Comunicaciones (2), Municipal (1)|
|Honduras||2||3||Olimpia (2)||Olimpia (2), Universidad (1)|
|Trinidad and Tobago||2||3||Defence Force (2)||Defence Force (2), Police FC (1)|
|8||United States||2||1||D.C. United (1), Los Angeles Galaxy (1)||Los Angeles Galaxy (1)|
|9||Haiti||2||0||Haïtien (1), Violette (1)|
|10||Cuba||0||2||Pinar del Río (2)|
|Curaçao||0||2||Jong Colombia (2)|
Champions League Winners
|Team||Winners||Runners-up||Years won||Years runner-up|
|Monterrey||3||0||2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13|
|Cruz Azul||1||2||2013–14||2008–09, 2009–10|
|Santos Laguna||0||2||2011–12, 2012–13|
|Real Salt Lake||0||1||2010–11|
Top countries (Champions League)
|1||Mexico||6||5||6||Cruz Azul (2014),
Monterrey (2011, 2012, 2013),
Pachuca (2010), Atlante (2009)
Santos Laguna (2012, 2013)
Cruz Azul (2009, 2010)
|Santos Laguna (2009),
UNAM (2010, 2012), Toluca (2010),
Cruz Azul (2011), Tijuana (2014)
|2||United States||0||1||2||Real Salt Lake (2011)||Los Angeles Galaxy (2013),
Seattle Sounders FC (2013)
|3||Costa Rica||0||0||2||Saprissa (2011), Alajuelense (2014)|
|4||Canada||0||0||1||Toronto FC (2012)|
|Puerto Rico||0||0||1||Puerto Rico Islanders (2009)|
Best result by country
|Rank||Country||Best result||Best Team (Year)|
|1||Mexico||Champions (x6)||Atlante (2009); Pachuca (2010);
Monterrey (2011, 2012, 2013); Cruz Azul (2014)
|2||United States||Runner-up||Real Salt Lake (2011)|
|3||Costa Rica||Semifinals (x4)||Saprissa (2011); Alajuelense (2014, 2015);
|4||Canada||Semifinals (x2)||Toronto FC (2012), Montreal Impact (2015)|
|5||Puerto Rico||Semifinals||Puerto Rico Islanders (2009)|
|6||Honduras||Quarterfinals (x3)||Marathon (2009, 2010); Olimpia (2011)|
|7||Guatemala||Quarterfinals (x2)||Comunicaciones (2010); Xelaju (2013)|
|Panama||Quarterfinals (x2)||Arabe Unido (2010, 2014)|
|9||El Salvador||Quarterfinals||Isidro Metapan (2012)|
- Nicaragua has an automatic berth in the Champions League, but no Nicaraguan club has advanced to the knockout rounds. Nicaragua's only team to participate in the Champions League, Real Esteli, has yet to win a match in Champions League group play.
Results by country
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||MLS||Costa Rica||Honduras||Canada||Guatemala||Panama||El Salvador|
|Season||Golden Boot||Golden Ball||Golden Glove||Fair play|
|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)||C.F. Monterrey||Oribe Peralta||Santos Laguna|
|2012–13||Nicolás Muñoz (6)
Carlos Quintero (6)
| Isidro Metapán
|Aldo de Nigris||C.F. Monterrey||Oswaldo Sánchez||Santos Laguna|
|2013–14||Raúl Nava (7)||Deportivo Toluca||Mariano Pavone||Cruz Azul||Alfredo Talavera||Deportivo Toluca||LA Galaxy|
- Interamerican Cup
- CONCACAF Giants Cup
- CONCACAF Cup Winners' Cup
- North American SuperLiga
- Football continental championships
- CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE REGULATIONS 2013/2014, Rule 3.7, http://www.concacaf.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/CCL1314-Regulations060313pdf.pdf
- "Scotiabank Joins CONCACAF as Official Partner". CONCACAF.com. December 9, 2014.
- "Official Logo Unveiled for Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League". CONCACAF.com. February 10, 2015.
- What is CCL?, Portland Timbers. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
- "We Are the Champions (League)". The Washington Post.
- "Qualifying Format Unveiled for 2008–09 CONCACAF Champions League". CONCACAF Official site. 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
- "CONCACAF Executive Committee tightens stadium standards for next year's Champions League". CONCACAF Official site. 2008-11-07. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
- 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), Feb. 18, 2011, http://pinolerosports.com/titulares/11-titulares/751-luces-ahora-si-en-el-independencia.html
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