In September of 2021, CONCACAF launched an entirely new men’s club competitions structure, and can now confirm that it will include a fully re-named and rebranded flagship annual men’s club tournament: the CONCACAF Champions Cup.
Beginning with the 2024 edition, the CONCACAF Champions Cup will replace the Champions League as the premier men’s continental tournament, which crowns the club champion of the region and provides the qualification route to the new and expanded FIFA Club World Cup.
The name “CONCACAF Champions Cup”, which is part of a full rebrand with a vibrant and modern visual identity, is inspired by this tournament’s rich history. The brand essence is “epic battles for greatness”, which symbolizes how difficult this competition is to qualify for, to compete in, and to win to be crowned CONCACAF club champion. Since 1962, when the first iteration of this tournament was formed, 30 different clubs have won this title, which highlights how competitive it is and the great diversity of champions we have had in CONCACAF.
The original continental club competition in CONCACAF had the same name and through its 61 year heritage (1962-2008: CONCACAF Champions Cup; 2008-2023 CONCACAF Champions League; 2024 onwards: CONCACAF Champions Cup), there have been 30 different winners of this tournament, from Club Leon last Sunday, back through a list of major clubs from Central America, North America, and the Caribbean.
CONCACAF President and FIFA Vice President, Victor Montagliani, said, “The CONCACAF Champions Cup will take continental club football in our region to the next level. It will elevate leagues and clubs across CONCACAF and the new name for the competition, alongside this vibrant new brand, allows us to celebrate our rich history while looking ahead to a great future of international club football in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.”
“The new CONCACAF club ecosystem will deliver more of those big rivalry matchups that we know footballers want to play in and that fans want to see. Clubs across the region will have to be at their very best to compete to win the CONCACAF Champions Cup and to earn the right to represent the region in the revamped and expanded FIFA Club World Cup which begins in 2025.”
An expanded new format with more participating clubs from Central America, the Caribbean, and North America
As previously announced, the new structure also includes three CONCACAF-sanctioned regional cup competitions that will help to further grow and elevate clubs and leagues in CONCACAF
These include a new CONCACAF Caribbean Cup that will crown a Caribbean champion, a new CONCACAF Central American Cup that will crown a Central American champion, and the expanded Leagues Cup between MLS and Liga MX clubs. All three regional cups will have direct qualification berths into the new CONCACAF Champions Cup.
The top clubs in North America will continue to have the opportunity to qualify through domestic leagues (Liga MX, MLS, CPL) and cup competitions (US Open Cup, Canadian Championship).
Significant increase in financial distributions and prize money
In addition to expanding the competition format, and re-naming and rebranding the tournament, CONCACAF will significantly increase the financial distributions and prize money for participating clubs in CONCACAF Champions Cup.
Each edition, starting in 2024, the CONCACAF Champions Cup champion will receive USD $5m+ in financial distributions and prize money, an increase of more than five times compared with the CONCACAF Champions League era.
The CONCACAF Champions Cup will continue to be played in a direct elimination knockout stage format and will be composed of five rounds: Round One, Round of 16, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Final.
The first four stages will each include home and away play, while the Final, where the region’s Champion will be crowned, will be played as a single-leg match on a weekend date.
Of the 27 clubs that will participate, 22 will begin play in Round One and five will receive a bye to the Round of 16. The qualification process for the clubs will be divided per region (further details are available in the video below).
CONCACAF General Secretary, Philippe Moggio, added, “We are incredibly excited about this new ecosystem and for the first edition of the new and expanded CONCACAF Champions Cup next year. In considering options for the name of the tournament we conducted significant research among our stakeholders, including with fans. Maintaining the word “Champions” was crucial for us to highlight that this tournament is at the top of the club pyramid in CONCACAF, and we also feel that moving away from ‘Champions League’ allows us to develop a unique identity for our club competition. In returning to the original tournament name, we will have the opportunity to truly connect the last 61 years of Continental club football in CONCACAF with what is coming in the future.”