CONCACAF reveals qualification criteria for expanded Champions League in 2024

CONCACAF reveals qualification criteria for expanded Champions League in 2024

CONCACAF has unveiled the qualification criteria for the confederation’s expanded Champions League starting in 2024, with MLS clubs set to be able to compete for up to nine spots in the competition.

The new CCL, first announced last year, will feature 27 clubs competing for the trophy. Of those places, five will be reserved for teams from MLS — the MLS Cup winner, Supporters’ Shield winner, opposite conference winner and the next two teams with the highest points total based on the Supporters’ Shield standings.

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There will also continue to be a place reserved for the US Open Cup winner as well as places for the top three teams in the Leagues Cup, which from 2023 will be expanded to include every team from MLS and Liga MX.

Mexican teams will also have a further six CCL places reserved — for the Apertura and Clausura winners and runners-up as well as the next two teams with the highest aggregate points total across both Apertura and Clausura competitions.

Two spots — for the champion and regular-season winner — will be awarded to the Canadian Premier League, with one place continuing to go to the Canadian Championship winner.

A further six spots will go to the top-performing teams in the newly created Central American Cup and three for the Caribbean Cup.

The winners of MLS Cup, Leagues Cup, Central American Cup and Caribbean Cup, along with the Liga MX Apertura or Clausura winner with the highest aggregate points total will receive a bye to the round of 16. The rest of the teams will enter at round one.

All five rounds will follow a direct elimination knockout format, with round one, round of 16, quarterfinals and semifinals being contested over two home and away matchups before a one-off final.

Next year’s CCL will be the final edition of the current format. The Seattle Sounders are the current champions having become the first MLS club to win the modern iteration of the competition when defeating Liga MX side Pumas earlier this month.

The winners of the CCL earn a spot in the FIFA Club World Cup, although details for upcoming tournaments have yet to revealed with FIFA having previously announced plans for an expanded format played every four years before the COVID-19 pandemic put the proposal on hold.

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