CONCACAF has confirmed important details regarding the official draw for the inaugural edition of the CONCACAF Central American Cup.
The live made-for-tv event, scheduled for Thursday, June 8, will start at 7:00 pm ET and will be hosted by sportscaster Raul Guzman. CONCACAF General Secretary Philippe Moggio will participate alongside former players from Central America
The draw will be widely available for fans across the CONCACAF region to follow and enjoy through the Confederation’s TV partner networks, FOX Sports | Tubi (USA-English), TUDN | ViX (USA-Spanish), Fox Sports Mexico (Mexico-Spanish), ESPN | Star+ (Central America, Caribbean, and South America), and the CONCACAF Official Platforms for all other territories (subject to territory restrictions).
INAUGURAL CONCACAF CENTRAL AMERICAN CUP
In September 2021, the Confederation announced that from 2023 onwards, three regional cup competitions (Leagues Cup, Central American Cup, and Caribbean Cup) will be played in the fall of each year and, along with other leagues and cups, will qualify clubs for a new expanded CONCACAF Champions League.
For Central America, the Confederation is introducing a 20-club tournament that includes a group stage (four groups of five teams), followed by a direct elimination knockout stage.
20 Central American clubs have secured a berth in the first edition of the CONCACAF Central American Cup based on their performance in their domestic leagues. These are, in alphabetical order per Member Association:
Belize (1): Verdes FC
Costa Rica (4): CS Cartagines, CS Herediano, Deportivo Saprissa, and LD Alajuelense
El Salvador (3): CD Aguila, CD FAS, and Jocoro FC
Guatemala (3): Comunicaciones FC, CSD Coban Imperial, and CSD Xelaju MC
Honduras (4): CD Olimpia, FC Motagua, Olancho FC, and Real CD España
Nicaragua (2): Diriangen FC and Real Esteli FC
Panama (3): CD Universitario, CA Independiente, and Sporting San Miguelito
DRAW POTS AND PROCEDURES
On June 8, CONCACAF will conduct the draw for the 2023 Central American Cup Group Stage. The draw will be executed using a single-blind system involving five pots.
The 20 participating clubs have been distributed into the five pots according to their CONCACAF Club Ranking as of May 28, 2023. Further details on the Confederation’s recently launched club ranking are available here.
The five pots are as follows (listed in ranking order per Pot):
Pot 1: CD Olimpia, Deportivo Saprissa, Comunicaciones FC, and LD Alajuelense
Pot 2: FC Motagua, CSD Xelaju MC, CS Herediano, and CSD Coban Imperial
Pot 3: Real CD España, CA Independiente, CS Cartagines, and Olancho FC
Pot 4: Sporting San Miguelito, CD Aguila, CD Universitario, and CD FAS
Pot 5: Real Esteli FC, Diriangen FC, Jocoro FC, and Verdes FC
The draw will begin by randomly selecting one sphere from Pot 1 and placing that club in Group A, position A1. This process will be replicated for all Pot 1 spheres, placing clubs in sequential order in Groups B, C, and D (position 1).
The same procedure will be followed for Pots 2, 3, 4, and 5, using group positions 2, 3, 4, and 5, respectively. At the end of the draw, each group will contain one club from each Pot and no more than two clubs from the same Member Association.
The 2023 CONCACAF Central American Cup Group Stage will be played in August, with each club playing four matches (two at home and two away), in the five scheduled weeks. The group stage schedule is as follows:
Week 1: August 1-3 (1 vs 3 and 5 vs 2)
Week 2: August 8-10 (5 vs 1 and 2 vs 4)
Week 3: August 15-17 (4 vs 5 and 2 vs 3)
Week 4: August 22-24 (4 vs 1 and 3 vs 5)
Week 5: August 29-31 (1 vs 2 and 3 vs 4)
After round-robin play, the two best clubs in each group will advance to the Knockout Stage. The Knockout Stage will commence with the Quarterfinals in the last week of September and end with a second leg final in early December.
Quarterfinals: September 26-28 (First Legs) and October 3-5 (Second Legs)
Semifinals and Play-In: October 24-26 (First Legs) and October 31 – November 2 (Second Legs)
Finals: November 28-30 (First Legs) and December 5-7 (Second Legs)
At the end of the Knockout Stage, the semifinalists and two play-in winners (six clubs in total) will advance to the revamped 27-club CONCACAF Champions League. Furthermore, the competition’s champion will receive a bye to the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16.
CONCACAF will announce the competition’s match schedule after the official draw.