This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while. Beyond the UEFA sanctioned Champions League, there are other ‘Champions League’ competitions in the various FIFA regions. Africa and Asia have a Champions League and South America has its Copa Libertadores. The CONCACAF region (comprised of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean) has had its own club competition, called the Champions’ Cup, which ran from 1962 to 2008. CF Pachuca were the most recent, and final, winners of the Champions Cup.
I feel that the rebranding the competition as a Champions League and expanding of the initial field to 24 teams will bring the competition a little more recognition and added prestige.
To get things under way, sixteen teams were drawn into eight home-and-away match-ups in the Preliminary Stage which will take place on August 26-28 and September 2-4 of 2008. Those matchups are as follows:
GUA2: CD Municipal or Deportivo Jalapa – PAN1: San Francisco FC
CFU2: Joe Public FC of Trinidad & Tobago – USA3: New England Revolution
CRC2: LD Alajuelense – CFU3: Puerto Rico Islanders
MEX4: CD SC Cruz Azul – BLZ1: Hankook Verdes
CFU1: Harbour View FC of Jamaica – MEX3: Pumas UNAM
PAN2: Tauro FC – USA4: Chivas USA
CAN1: Canadian Champion – NCA1: Nicaraguan Champion
SLV2: CD Isidro Metapan – HON2: CD Olimpia or CD Marathon
The Canadian Champion is being determined by a round-robin tournament between Toronto FC, Impact de Montreal and the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Eight clubs (domestic league winners) are already entered in the group stage (4 groups of 4):
Eight seeded teams – Group Stage
MEX1: Atlante FC
MEX2: Club Santos Laguna
USA1: Houston Dynamo
USA2: D.C. United
CRC1: Deportivo Saprissa
SLV1: CD Luis Angel Firpo
GUA1: CSD Municipal or Deportivo Jalapa
Playoff will determine GUA1, GUA2
HON1: CD Olimpia or CD Marathon
Playoff will determine HON1, HON2
I’ll be following this competition and will outline the group stages once the preliminary rounds complete in September. At that point things will be much simpler to sort out 🙂
I will admit in advance that I will be biased (i.e. rooting for) the Canadian champ, most likely to be Toronto FC.