CONCACAF has announced important details regarding the official draw for the inaugural edition of the CONCACAF Central American Cup. The made-for-tv live event will take place Thursday, June 8 at 7:00 pm ET, in Miami, FL.
Fans will be able to follow all the action through the Confederation’s partner networks, including 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).
In September 2021, CONCACAF 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.
Thus far, 16 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:
Costa Rica (4): CS Cartagines, CS Herediano, Deportivo Saprissa, and LD Alajuelense
El Salvador (2): CD Aguila and CD FAS
Guatemala (2): Coban Imperial and Comunicaciones FC
Honduras (4): CD Olimpia, FC Motagua, Olancho FC, and Real CD España
Nicaragua (2): Real Esteli FC and Diriangen FC
Panama (2): Club Atletico Independiente and Sporting San Miguelito
The four remaining participating clubs (from Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Panama) will be decided no later than May 28, 2023.
The 2023 CONCACAF Central American Cup Group Stage will be played in August, with each club playing a total of 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.
On June 8, CONCACAF will conduct the draw for the 2023 CONCACAF Central American Cup Group Stage. The draw will be executed using a single-blind system involving five pots.
The 20 participating Central American clubs will be distributed into the five pots according to their CONCACAF Club Ranking as of May 28, 2023.
The five pots are as follows:
Pot 1: Four highest-ranked clubs
Pot 2: Four next highest-ranked clubs
Pot 3: Four next highest-ranked clubs
Pot 4: Four next highest-ranked clubs
Pot 5: Four lowest-ranked clubs
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.
CONCACAF will publish the confirmed pots in the days ahead of the official draw.