CONCACAF announced a new format and schedule on Monday for the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League which will begin with the 2017-18 edition of the SCCL. The new setup eliminates the group stage and replaces it with two knockout tournaments. Major League Soccer soccer clubs will participate from February through May of each year only.
The Seattle Sounders, FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls, Colorado Rapids and Toronto FC are the MLS teams who will participate in the first edition of the new CCL.
The new format increases the number of CCL participants from 24 teams to 31. Thirteen Central American and three Caribbean clubs will play in a new Phase 1 tournament that will run from August to October. The winner of Phase 1 will join 15 other clubs, which includes five MLS teams, in a Phase 2 tournament that will run from February to May.
Each knockout tournament will operate in a direct home-and-home format with the winner of each round determined by aggregate goals.
“The expansion of the CONCACAF club competitions platform to 31 clubs is an important step forward in the Confederation’s efforts to include more Member Association representation and increase participation at the highest levels of our competitions,” said CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani. “The continued growth of club competition in CONCACAF is representative of the strengthening of the sport throughout the region, and along with the new format for the Champions League, provides the base for a formidable club championship structure that will entertain and engage fans region-wide for years to come.”
The winner of Phase 2 will still represent CONCACAF in the FIFA World Cup. The draw for the 2017-18 CCL will be held in late May.