CONCACAF Champions League
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CONCACAF Champions League
CONCACAF Champions League
2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League.svg
Founded 1962; 56 years ago (1962)
(2018 in current format)
Region North, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF)
Number of teams 16 (from 9 or 10 associations)
Qualifier for FIFA Club World Cup
Current champions
Website CONCACAF Champions League
2018 CONCACAF Champions League

The CONCACAF Champions League is an annual continental club football competition organized by CONCACAF for the top football clubs in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. The winner of the CONCACAF Champions League qualifies for the FIFA Club World Cup. The tournament is officially known as the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, since February 2015, due to sponsorship by Scotiabank.[1][2] The competition has been completed 52 times through the 2016-17 event, with 54 champions due to a three-way shared title in the 1978 competition.

The tournament's current format uses a knockout format, though the tournament had a group stage prior to the 2018 tournament. Unlike its European and South American counterparts, the winners of the CONCACAF Champions League do not automatically qualify for the following season's competition.[3]

The competition was originally known as the CONCACAF Champions' Cup when it was first organized in 1962. The title has been won by 28 different clubs, 17 of which have won the title more than once. Mexican clubs have accumulated the highest number of victories, with 34 titles in total. The second most successful league has been Costa Rica's Primera División with six titles in total. Mexican side Club América are the most successful club in the competition's history with seven titles, followed by fellow Mexican-side Cruz Azul with six titles. The most successful non-Mexican club is Saprissa of Costa Rica with three titles. The only four teams to successfully defend the trophy are all Mexican: América, Cruz Azul, Pachuca and Monterrey. The current champions of the competition are Guadalajara, who defeated Toronto FC in the finals.

Competition format

The tournament currently employs a 16 team knockout format and is played between February and May. Fifteen teams qualify automatically based on domestic performance, along with the winners of the CONCACAF League, played at the end of the previous calendar year.

Each round of competition consists of a two-leg home-and-away series with the winner determined by aggregate goals over both legs. If aggregate goals are equal, the away goals rule is applied. If away goals are also equal, the game is decided by an immediate penalty shoot-out; there are no overtime periods.[4]

Prior to 2018, the tournament had two parts -- a group stage held from August to October, and a knockout phase held from March to May of the following year. The group stage consisted of 24 teams playing in eight groups of three teams each, with each team playing the other two teams in its group twice. United States and Mexican sides could not be drawn into the same group. The winners of each of the eight groups advanced to the quarterfinals. Each phase of the knockout rounds (quarterfinals, semifinals, finals) consisted of a two-leg home-and-away series with the winner determined by aggregate goal differential.[5] Seeding in the knockout phase was determined by performance during the group stage.

Prior to the 2012-13 season, the competition had involved four groups of four, with one Mexican team and one U.S. team in each group. A preliminary round was used to reduce the number of teams from 24 to 16.


Champions' Cup trophy won by CD Olimpia in 1972

The competition was initially created as a possible measure to enter the South American Copa Libertadores, a competition organized by CONMEBOL. Prior to 2008, the tournament was officially called the "CONCACAF Champions' Cup", but was usually referred to simply as the "Champions' Cup". The competition has had several different formats over its lifetime. From 1962 until 1995, the finalists, or clubs participating in a final round, would be decided by clubs who qualify via two separate brackets: a Caribbean Island qualifier and a Northern/Central American qualification competition. Initially, only the champions of the North American leagues participated. In 1971, the runners-up of a few North American leagues began to join and the tournament began to be expanded, incorporating round-robin group phases and more teams. After the creation of the United States' Major League Soccer, the competition became a straight knockout competition from 1997 until it was revamped into a tournament with a group stage in 2008.

Champions' Cup Era (1962-2008)

The competition's former format, a knockout tournament called the Champions' Cup, was played under a variety of formats. The last format, used from 2004 to 2008, had eight teams competing - four from the North American zone (two from Mexico, two from the United States), three from the Central American zone, and one from the Caribbean zone. Since 2005, the champion of the competition also gained entry into the FIFA Club World Cup, giving clubs an added incentive for a strong participation and greater interest from fans. Also, the Champions' Cup Runner-up would be one of the three CONCACAF invitees to the Copa Sudamericana.

Champions League Era (2008-2017)

The CONCACAF Executive Committee at their 2006 November meeting decided to "act upon" a proposal--first delineated in 2003 by then Head of Special Projects Mel Brennan--at their next meeting by the CONCACAF Secretariat to develop the CONCACAF Champions' Cup into a larger "Champions League" style event. The CONCACAF Executive Committee reported on 14 November 2007 some of the details.[6]

The previous Champions' Cup format was used as planned in March and April 2008. Then, a newly expanded Champions League tournament was conducted starting in August 2008 and concluding in May 2009. The initial setup involved 24 teams and featured a Preliminary Round contested by 16 teams to reduce the field to 16 teams, which were separated into four groups of four teams.[6][7] After the Group Stage, the Championship Round are held from the Quarterfinal Round onward.

Since 2012, the 24 teams have been divided into eight groups of three teams. The first placed teams qualify for the quarter finals. The quarter finals, semi finals and final are played over two legs.

New CONCACAF competition platform (2018- )

In December 2016, Manuel Quintanilla, president of the Nicaraguan Football Federation, spoke of a possible new format for the competition,[8] a statement that was later corroborated by Garth Lagerwey, the general manager of Seattle Sounders FC.[9] On 23 January 2017, CONCACAF confirmed the new format beginning with the 2018 edition, eliminating the group stage which had been employed since the re-branding of the competition to the CONCACAF Champions League in 2008.[10]

Under the new CONCACAF competition platform, 31 club teams will compete in CONCACAF competitions. Sixteen teams compete in a new tournament played from August to December, called the CONCACAF League. The winners of that tournament join 15 other teams in the Champions League, played between February and May of the next calendar year.[10] The CONCACAF League features 13 teams from Central America and 3 teams from the Caribbean. The champion advances to the CONCACAF Champions League, joining 9 teams from North America, 5 teams from Central America, and 1 team from the Caribbean.


A total of 16 teams participate in the CONCACAF Champions League: nine from the North American Zone (from three associations), at least five from the Central American Zone (the champions of Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, and El Salvador), and at least one team from the Caribbean Zone (the champions of the CFU Club Championship).[11] The remaining berth goes to the winners of the CONCACAF League, played between 13 teams from the Central American Zone and 3 from the Caribbean Zone.

Clubs may be disqualified and replaced by a club from another association if the club does not have an available stadium that meets CONCACAF regulations for safety. If a club's own stadium fails to meet the set standards then it may find a suitable replacement stadium within its own country. However, if it is still determined that the club cannot provide the adequate facilities then it runs the risk of being replaced.

North American Zone

Nine teams from the North American Football Union qualify to the Champions League. Mexico and the United States are each allocated four berths, the most of any of CONCACAF's member associations, while Canada is granted one berth in the tournament.

For Mexico, the winners and runners-up of the Liga MX Apertura and Clausura tournaments earn berths in Pot 3 of the tournament's group stage.

For the United States, three berths are allocated through the Major League Soccer (MLS) regular season and playoffs (the MLS Cup winner, the Supporters' Shield winner, and the other regular season conference winner); the fourth berth is allocated to the winner of its domestic cup competition, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. If a Canada-based team occupies any MLS-allocated berth, or any U.S-based team qualifies for the Champions League by more than one method, the Champions League place is allocated to the U.S.-based team with the best MLS regular season record which has failed to otherwise qualify.

Since Canada hosted the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, the Canadian Championship was moved from April-May to April-August (with no matches occurring between May and August), overlapping with the start of the Champions League. Therefore, for the 2015-16 tournament only, the lone Canadian berth into the tournament, in Pot 1, was given to the best Canadian team in the MLS regular season. The setup will be reverted for the 2016-17 tournament, where once again the Voyageurs Cup competed for in the Canadian Championship, earns the lone Canadian berth into the tournament (starting from the 2015 Canadian Championship, the winner earns the berth in the next calendar year instead of the same calendar year as in previous tournaments).

Central American Zone

Five teams from the Central American Football Union qualify to the Champions League: one berth for each of Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama and El Salvador.

If one or more clubs is precluded, it is supplanted by a club from another Central American association. The reallocation is based on results from previous Champions League tournaments.

Caribbean Zone

One team from the Caribbean Football Union qualifies directly to the Champions League. This berth goes to the winners of the CFU Club Championship.

If the Caribbean qualifier is precluded, they are supplanted by the runners-up of the CFU Club Championship.


The final berth goes to the winners of the CONCACAF League. Sixteen teams participate in this tournament: 13 from the Central American Zone (two berths each from Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, and Nicaragua and one from Belize) and 3 from the Caribbean Zone (the runners-up, third, and fourth place teams from the CFU Club Championship).

Stadium standards

If a club fails to meet the standards for its home stadium, the club must find a suitable stadium in its own country, and if the club fails to provide the adequate facilities, it runs the risk of being replaced by another team.[12]Real Esteli of Nicaragua failed stadium requirements and was replaced by another team for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.[13]Estadio Independencia in Nicaragua has since been renovated, including upgrades to stadium lighting, and Nicaraguan teams now participate.[14] The qualifying team from Belize has failed stadium requirements and has been replaced by another team in each season from 2009-10 through 2014-15.

If one or more of the five Central American clubs is precluded, it will be supplanted by a club from the best Central American league, based on results from the current Champions League. If the Caribbean qualifier is precluded, they are supplanted by the runners-up of the CFU Club Championship.

Attendance Record

During Champions League era:

Rank Date Host Club Visitor Club Venue Attendance
1 April 8, 2015 Mexico Club América Costa Rica Herediano Mexico Estadio Azteca, Mexico City 66,208[15]
2 April 29, 2015 Canada Montréal Impact Mexico Club América Canada Stade Olympique, Montreal 61,004[16]
3 April 25, 2018 Mexico Guadalajara Canada Toronto FC Mexico Estadio Akron, Zapopan 60,000[17][better source needed]
4 April 22, 2015 Mexico Club América Canada Montreal Impact Mexico Estadio Azteca, Mexico City 56,783[18]
5 February 23, 2009 Canada Montréal Impact Mexico Santos Laguna Canada Stade Olympique, Montreal 55,571[15]
6 March 7, 2012 Canada Toronto FC United States LA Galaxy Canada Rogers Centre, Toronto 47,658[19]
7 March 7, 2018 United States Seattle Sounders FC Mexico C.D. Guadalajara United States CenturyLink Field, Seattle 42,885
8 February 24, 2016 United States Seattle Sounders FC Mexico Club América United States CenturyLink Field, Seattle 42,836[19][20]
9 March 4, 2015 Mexico Club América Costa Rica Deportivo Saprissa Mexico Estadio Azteca, Mexico City 40,688[19]
10 March 3, 2015 Canada Montréal Impact Mexico Pachuca Canada Stade Olympique, Montreal 38,104[15]


The CONCACAF Champions League has several corporate sponsors: Scotiabank (which has been a title sponsor of the Champions League since 2014-2015), Miller Lite, MoneyGram, Maxxis Tires, and Nike.[11][21] The sponsors' names appear on the boards around the perimeter of the field, and boards for pre-game and post-game interviews and press conferences.[11] Nike is also the official provider of game balls and referee uniforms.


Champions' Cup Era (1962-2008)

  • The abbreviation "aggr." represents the aggregate score across two matches.

1 No final match was held; the championship was decided by a final round.

2 Championship won due to withdrawal and/or disqualification of all other teams.

3 Universidad de Guadalajara, Comunicaciones and Defence Force were all declared joint winners after the 1978 final tournament was cancelled due to administrative problems and disagreements on match dates.

Champions League Era (2008 - present)


  • All scores listed are aggregate scores across the two home-and-away legs, unless otherwise noted.

Records and statistics

Overall winners

  • When sorted by years won or lost, the table is sorted by the year of each team's most recent win or loss.

Overall performances by country

Rank Country Titles Runners-up Winners Runners-up
1  Mexico 34 17 América (7), Cruz Azul (6), Pachuca (5), Monterrey (3), UNAM (3), Atlante (2), Toluca (2), Guadalajara (2), Español (1), Necaxa (1), Puebla (1), Universidad de Guadalajara (1) Toluca (3), Cruz Azul (2), Guadalajara (2), Morelia (2), Santos Laguna (2), Tigres UANL (2), Atlante (1), León (1), Necaxa (1), UNAM (1)
2  Costa Rica 6 5 Saprissa (3), Alajuelense (2), Cartaginés (1) Alajuelense (3), Saprissa (2)
3  El Salvador 3 1 Águila (1), Alianza (1), FAS (1) Atlético Marte (1)
4  Suriname 2 8 Transvaal (2) Robinhood (5), Transvaal (3)
5  Guatemala 2 3 Comunicaciones (1), Municipal (1) Comunicaciones (2), Municipal (1)
 Honduras 2 3 Olimpia (2) Olimpia (2), Universidad (1)
 Trinidad and Tobago 2 3 Defence Force (2) Defence Force (2), Police FC (1)
8  United States 2 2 D.C. United (1), LA Galaxy (1) LA Galaxy (1), Real Salt Lake (1)
9  Haiti 2 0 Racing (1), Violette (1)
10  Cuba 0 2 Pinar del Río (2)
 Curaçao 0 2 Jong Colombia (2)
 Canada 0 2 Montreal Impact (1), Toronto (1)

Champions League

League Champions

Performances by country

Rank Country Titles Runners-up Losing
Champions Runners-up Losing
1  Mexico 10 7 9 Monterrey (2011, 2012, 2013), América (2015, 2016), Pachuca (2010, 2017), Atlante (2009), Cruz Azul (2014), Guadalajara (2018) Cruz Azul (2009, 2010), Santos Laguna (2012, 2013), UANL (2016, 2017), Toluca (2014) UNAM (2010, 2012), Santos Laguna (2009, 2016), Toluca (2010), Cruz Azul (2011), Tijuana (2014), Querétaro (2016), América (2018)
2  Canada 0 2 2 Montreal Impact (2015), Toronto FC (2018) Toronto FC (2012), Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2017)
3  United States 0 1 4 Real Salt Lake (2011) LA Galaxy (2013), Seattle Sounders FC (2013), FC Dallas (2017), New York Red Bulls (2018)
4  Costa Rica 0 0 4 Alajuelense (2014, 2015), Saprissa (2011), Herediano (2015)
5  Puerto Rico 0 0 1 Puerto Rico Islanders (2009)

Best results by country

Rank Country Best Results Best Teams (Years)
1  Mexico Champions (x10) Monterrey (2011, 2012, 2013), América (2015, 2016), Pachuca (2010, 2017), Atlante (2009), Cruz Azul (2014), Guadalajara (2018)
2  Canada Runners-up (x2) Montreal Impact (2015), Toronto FC (2018)
3  United States Runners-up Real Salt Lake (2011)
4  Costa Rica Semi-finals (x4) Alajuelense (2014, 2015), Saprissa (2011), Herediano (2015)
5  Puerto Rico Semi-finals Puerto Rico Islanders (2009)
6  Honduras Quarter-finals (x4) Marathon (2009, 2010), Olimpia (2011, 2015)
 Panama Quarter-finals (x4) Arabe Unido (2010, 2014, 2017), Tauro (2018)
8  Guatemala Quarter-finals (x2) Comunicaciones (2010), Xelaju (2013)
9  El Salvador Quarter-finals Isidro Metapan (2012)


  • Nicaragua has an automatic berth in the Champions League, but no Nicaraguan club has advanced to the knockout rounds or even won a match in Champions League group play.

Results by league

Results are listed in the Wins-Losses-Draws format. Numbers in parentheses are average points (3 for a win, 1 for a draw, 0 for a loss).
Results include matches from preliminary rounds, group play, and knockout play. * Penalty shoot-out considered a separate event from the match which preceded it.

CCL Season Mexico United States Costa Rica Honduras Canada Guatemala Panama El Salvador
2008-09 23*-12-10
7-5-4 5-2-2
2-3-3 3-7-4 2-3-3
2009-10 30-8-10
9-9-0 0-1-1
3-6-1 5-6-1 1-5-2
2010-11 25-10-6
7-9-2 3-2-3
2-3-3 2-8-0 1-5-4
2011-12 26-14-6
3-11-2 6-3-3
3-4-1 2-4-2 5-7-0
2012-13 19-4-7
2-3-3 2-2-0
4-4-2 0-8-0 2-10-0
2013-14 20*-6-6
4-4-0 4-5-1 3-3-2
2014-15 13-4-7
3-3-2 1-6-1 0-7-1
2015-16 18-6-12
2-4-2 4-4-0 1-5-2
2016-17 17-7-6
1-3-4 6-3-1 1-4-3
Totals 193-71-70


  1. ^ Award was known as the "Bright Future Award" for 2014-15 season.

See also


  1. ^ "Scotiabank Joins CONCACAF as Official Partner". December 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Official Logo Unveiled for Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League". February 10, 2015. 
  4. ^ ScotiaBank Champions League 2018 Regulations. Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). 2017. pp. 5-7. 
  5. ^ What is CCL?, Portland Timbers. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "CONCACAF ExCo meeting in New York". CONCACAF. November 14, 2007. Archived from the original on December 25, 2007. 
  7. ^ "We Are the Champions (League)". The Washington Post. 
  8. ^ "Nicaragua con dos pases a Liga de Campeones". Metro Nicaragua (in Spanish). 15 December 2016. Retrieved 2016. 
  9. ^ "Sounders GM hints at CONCACAF Champions League format change". 19 December 2016. Retrieved 2016. 
  10. ^ a b "CONCACAF expands club competition field, implements new Champions League format" (Press release). CONCACAF. January 23, 2017. Retrieved 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c CONCACAF. "ISSUU - Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League 2015-16 Regulations by CONCACAF". Issuu. 
  12. ^ "CONCACAF Executive Committee tightens stadium standards for next year's Champions League". CONCACAF Official site. November 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008. 
  13. ^, Real Esteli FC vs. Sporting Kansas City | CONCACAF Champions League Preview, August 6, 2013,
  14. ^ Pinolero Sports, Luces, ahora sí, en el Independencia (article in Spanish), February 18, 2011,
  15. ^ a b c "Champions League: Montreal Impact near sellout for home leg of CCL final at Olympic Stadium",, Oliver Tremblay, April 17, 2015.
  16. ^ "CONCACAF final: Club America too much for Impact". Retrieved 2015. 
  17. ^ Bobby McMahon (April 26, 2018). "After Remarkable Comeback, Toronto FC Falls Short In Champions League Final Penalty Kick Decider". Retrieved 2018. 
  18. ^ Moffat, Rick. "Rick Moffat Status". Twitter. Retrieved 2015. 
  19. ^ a b c "Club America breaks SCCL attendance record". April 10, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Match Center Seattle Sounders vs Club America". Retrieved 2016. 
  21. ^ "Champions League". CONCACAF. 
  22. ^ "Individual Awards Winners Announced for Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League 2015/16". CONCACAF. April 28, 2016. Retrieved 2016. 
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Twitter @TheChampions". CONCACAF. April 30, 2015. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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