Miami, Florida (Feb. 13, 2019) — CONCACAF rolled out a new format for the Scotiabank CONCACAF League, growing the competition by six teams. Of special note to Canadian soccer fans, the preliminary round now includes a berth for the Canadian Premier League.
CONCACAF Announces expanded SCL including CPL berth
The annual competition now runs from July through November and will award six spots into the CONCACAF Champions League. This includes the berths previously awarded to the five top-seeded Central American clubs straight into the CCL. These clubs will now participate in SCL instead.
The preliminary round of the SCL consists of 12 clubs meeting in home-and-away series. Meanwhile, the victors will join the remaining 10 clubs in the Round of 16.
“We are very excited to take a major step forward to enhance our expanded Concacaf Club Competition Platform,” Concacaf General Secretary Philippe Moggio said. “We are creating a larger Scotiabank Concacaf League that will increase the opportunities for our members in the Caribbean and Central America to play more relevant, competitive matches. With 22 teams participating, the window of access is wider, providing greater chances to qualify to the region’s premier tournament for clubs, the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.”
The Scotiabank CONCACAF League was created in 2017.
This is an exciting development for the Canadian Premier League, but the announcement raises further questions. The most notable question is who will represent the CPL in a tournament that begins more than three months after the kickoff of the first-ever CPL campaign?
In the wake of comments from league commissioner David Clanachan that the CPL will feature something different for North America as far as the format is concerned, some have speculated that the league might adopt a LigaMX style “Apertura” and “Clausura” style two-part season. This will allow a mid-season champion to represent the league in the international tournament.
Regardless of what format it takes, a schedule announcement is expected soon. The Canadian Premier League kicks off on April 27.
PHOTO: Players of Chivas celebrates after winning the second leg match of the final between Chivas and Toronto FC as part of CONCACAF Champions League 2018 at Akron Stadium on April 25, 2018, in Zapopan, Mexico. (Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images)