The current Copa Sudamericana official logo, in use since 2015
|Region||South America (CONMEBOL)|
|Number of teams||47 (from 10 associations)|
|Related competitions||Recopa Sudamericana
Suruga Bank Championship
|Current champions||Santa Fe (1st title)|
|Most successful club(s)||Boca Juniors (2 titles)|
|2015 Copa Sudamericana|
The Copa Sudamericana (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkopa suðameɾiˈkana]; Portuguese: Copa Sul-Americana [ˈkɔpɐ ˈsuw ɐmeɾiˈkɐnɐ]) is an annual international club football competition organized by the CONMEBOL since 2002. It is the second most prestigious club competition in South American football. CONCACAF clubs were invited between 2004 and 2008. The Copa Sudamerican began in 2002, replacing the separate competitions Copa Merconorte and Copa Mercosur (that before replaced Copa Conmebol) by a single competition. Since its introduction, the competition has been a pure elimination tournament with the number of rounds and teams varying from year to year.
The Copa Sudamericana is considered a merger of defunct tournaments such as the Copa CONMEBOL, Copa Mercosur and Copa Merconorte. The winner of the Copa Sudamericana becomes eligible to play in the Recopa Sudamericana. They also gain entry onto the next edition of the Copa Libertadores, South America's premier club competition. They also contest the Suruga Bank Championship.
The reigning champion of the competition is Colombian club Santa Fe. Argentine club Boca Juniors is the most successful club in the cup history, having won the tournament twice. Argentine clubs have accumulated the most amount of victories with seven wins while containing the largest number of different winning teams, with a total of six clubs having won the title. The cup has been won by eleven different clubs and won consecutively once, by Boca Juniors in 2004 and 2005.
In 1992, the Copa CONMEBOL was an international football tournament created for South American clubs that did not qualify for the Copa Libertadores and Supercopa Sudamericana. This tournament was discontinued in 1999 and replaced by the Copa Merconorte and Copa Mercosur. These tournaments started in 1998 but were discontinued in 2001. A Pan-American club cup competition was intended, under the name of Copa Pan-Americana, but instead, the Copa Sudamericana was introduced in 2002 as a single-elimination tournament with the reigning Copa Mercosur champion, San Lorenzo.
In 2003, the Japanese automobile manufacturer Nissan Motors started sponsoring the tournament. Thus, the competition has since been officially called Copa Nissan Sudamericana, much in the style of the Copa Libertadores branding as Copa Toyota Libertadores at the time. Also, Brazilian teams participated for the first time.
The 2003 tournament was won by Cienciano. Boca Juniors won the trophy consecutively in 2004 and 2005 defeating Bolívar and UNAM, respectively. Pachuca won the 2006 Copa Sudamericana defeating Colo-Colo. Their compatriots, América, tried to emulate their success but lost the 2007 final as Arsenal won the title.
Having already won the Copa Libertadores and Recopa Sudamericana, Internacional, with goals from Alex and Nilmar, became the first Brazilian team to win the cup, after an unbeaten campaign that includes eliminating their archrivals Grêmio, defeating Boca Juniors at the Bombonera, and then defeating Estudiantes in the final.
|This section does not cite any sources. (March 2014)|
As of 2012, most teams qualify to the Copa Sudamericana by virtue of their performance on half-year tournaments called the Apertura and Clausura tournaments, by finishing among the top teams in their championship, or by being the best teams from previous season that did not qualify for the Copa Libertadores. The countries that use this format are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Venezuela. Chile and Ecuador have developed new formats for qualification to the Copa Libertadores involving several stages. Brazil is the only South American league to use a European league format instead of the Apertura and Clausura format. Peru allocates its entries similar to Brazil. Venezuela uses a second tournament to determine who qualifies to the Copa Sudamericana.
The first, second and final stages of the competition is currently contested by the following:
|North & South Zone||
The winners of the previous season's Copa Sudamericana, i.e., the title holder, are given an additional entry if they do not qualify for the tournament through their domestic performance; however, if the title holder qualify for the tournament through their domestic performance, an additional entry would be granted to the next eligible team, "replacing" the title holder.
Unlike most other competitions around the world, South American club football competitions historically did not use extra time, an additional period of play specified under the rules of a sport to bring a game to a decision and avoid declaring the match a tie or draw, or away goals, a method of breaking ties in football and other sports when teams play each other twice, once at each team's home ground, to decide a tie that was level on aggregate. The "Three points for a win" standard, a system adopted by FIFA in 1995 that places additional value on wins, was adopted in CONMEBOL that same year, with teams earning 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss.
The current tournament features 47 clubs competing over a six- to eight-month period. There are three stages: the first stage, the second stage and the final stage.
The first stage pits a number of clubs, currently 32, in series of two-legged knockout ties. The clubs are separated into two geographic bases: the North Zone (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela) and the South Zone (Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay). The sixteen survivors will face each other in the North & South Zone of the second stage, again in series of two-legged knockout ties. Six teams from Argentina and eight clubs from Brazil will also contest, locally, two-legged knockout ties in the Argentina zone and Brazil zone. The eight winners from the North & Zone, the three winners of the Argentina zone and four winners of the Brazil zone will join the defending champions in the round of 16. From that point, the competition proceeds with two-legged knockout ties to quarterfinals, semifinals, and the finals.
The tournament shares its name with the trophy, also called the Copa Sudamericana or simply la Sudamericana, which is awarded to the Copa Sudamericana winner.
La Otra Mitad de La Gloria
La Otra Mitad de La Gloria (The other half of glory) is a promotional Spanish phrase used in the context of winning or attempting on winning the Copa Sudamericana. It is a term widely used by Latin American media. The tournament itself has become highly regarded among its participants since its inception. In 2004, Cienciano's conquest of the trophy ignited a party across Peru. The Mexican football federation regards Pachuca's victory in 2006 as the most important title won by any Mexican club. Sports Illustrated qualified Arsenal, unlikely contenders for the 2007 edition, as "the underdog that couldn't be stopped".
Like the Copa Libertadores, the Copa Sudamericana was sponsored by a group of multinational corporations. Like the premier South American club football tournament forementioned, the competition used a single, main sponsor. The first major sponsor was Nissan Motors, who signed an 8-year contract with CONMEBOL in 2003.
However, the competition has had many secondary sponsors that invest in the tournament as well. Many of these sponsors are nationally based but have expanded to other nations. Nike supplies the official match ball, as they do for all other CONMEBOL competitions. Embratel, a brand of Telmex, is the only telecommunications sponsor of the tournament. Individual clubs may wear jerseys with advertising, even if such sponsors conflict with those of the Copa Sudamericana.
Clubs in the Copa Sudamericana receive $400,000 for qualifying for the competition. Afterwards, each club earns $90,000 per home match. That amount is derived from television rights and stadium advertising. In addition, CONMEBOL pays $500,000 to the winners.
Records and statistics
Claudio Morel Rodríguez is the only player to have won three Copa Sudamericana winners' medals. The overall top goalscorer in Copa Sudamericana history is Eduardo Vargas, scorer of 11 goals. Vargas also holds the record for the most goals scored in a single Copa Sudamericana. All his 11 goals were scored in the 2011 tournament.
No coach has won the tournament more than once. All Copa Sudamericana winning head coaches were natives of the country they coached to victory except for Jorge Fossati, Jorge Sampaoli, and Gerardo Pelusso. Fossati, from Uruguay, coached Ecuadorian club LDU Quito to triumph in 2009, while Sampaoli, from Argentina, coached Chilean club Universidad de Chile to triumph in 2011, and Pelusso, from Uruguay, coached Colombian club Santa Fe to triumph in 2015. Mexican manager Enrique Meza coached Pachuca to win the 2006 edition, the only non-South American manager to win the title.
As of the end of the 2009 tournament, San Lorenzo has played 32 matches, the most by any team. LDU Quito have scored the most goals, netting 57. LDU Quito is the only team to be in the semifinals four times, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011. 
|Team||Winners||Runners-up||Winning Years||Runners-up Years|
|Boca Juniors||2||—||2004, 2005||
|Universidad de Chile||1||—||2011||
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- Agosto abre el noveno capítulo de un torneo que se hace mayor
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Copa Sudamericana.|
- Copa Sudamericana Official Site of CONMEBOL.
- Copa Sudamericana Regulations 2014 (Spanish)
- Official Facebook (Spanish)
- Official Twitter (Spanish)
- Copa Sudamericana results at RSSSF.com
- Copa Sudamericana at worldfootball.net
- Copa Sudamericana en Univision (Spanish)