At this point, most of you are probably familiar with the basic rules and regulations of CONCACAF Champions League play. Let’s dig a bit deeper into the CCL rulebook to find some lesser known facts.
You're Going To Need A Nice Stadium
If you’re hosting a CCL match, your stadium’s gotta be up to be snuff. A lot of these concerns don’t typically apply to MLS teams competing in CONCACAF Champion’s league. Every MLS stadium meets and exceeds the standards that CONCACAF puts forth for stadiums in CCL play. Keep in mind, though, that teams from much, much smaller member associations play in venues that are a far from CenturyLink field.
All CCL games are played at night, and adequate lighting is required (800 Lumens, to be exact). The field surface and condition are also subject to CONCACAF scrutiny, as are the press and fan accommodations. Stadium security, advertising and even the use of the in-house PA system are all regulated by the association.
Participating teams are required to play their matches at their home stadium unless that stadium is deemed (by CONCACAF) to be unfit for CCL play, in which case a different stadium in the club’s home country may be used. Among CONACAF nations, club teams in Belize and Nicaragua regularly fail to find an adequate stadium to play in, which has resulted in the forfeiture of multiple CCL berths.
Get Ready To Jump Some Fences
So your stadium is fine? Still, you better be prepared. CONCACAF has a laundry list of rules and regulations for hosting teams. Every last detail is accounted for, from major logistical concerns (transportation and lodging for match officials and CONCACAF representatives) to slightly smaller concerns (you’ll need a minimum of 10 bars of soap and 30 towels in the visiting team’s locker room, for example.)
Oh, and ball kids. You’ll need 10 ball kids. And “gamesmanship will not be tolerated” among them.
Show Me the Money
You’ve gotta pay to play. CONCACAF tightly monitors and controls the revenue for each CCL match. Teams are required to report ticket sales for matches to CONCACAF, and are required to inform the association of pricing plans and promotional activities associated with the match. CONCACAF receives 5% of the gross ticket revenue from each match, and also controls the broadcast rights and sponsorship and merchandising rights to the CCL.
Aside from the prestige associated with a CCL berth and the possibility of a FIFA Club World Cup invitation, CONCACAF also provides a small payment to the visiting team in each CCL match to help offset travel and lodging expenses.
Stay Above Water
If you drop out of the CCL, you’re in big trouble. This is something that’s yet to happen in the Champions League era – but it was actually quite common in the early days of Champions’ Cup, CCL’s predecessor. The penalties for dropping out of CCL after you’ve already signed on the dotted line are varied. Should a participating team drop out before the start of the group phase, they’re out $5,000. After the group stage begins, they’ll have to pony up $10,000. If they withdraw during the knockout phase of the competition, they’re in the hole for $20,000.
Really feeling generous? Win the CCL and then fail to travel to the FIFA Club World Cup. You’ll be out $100,000.