September 5 – Concacaf has confirmed that its Nations League – that kicks off its inaugural full edition during the current international window – will be the qualification pathway for the 2021 Gold Cup.
The 2019 Gold Cup this summer was expanded to 16 teams for the first time, with automatic qualification for the six teams that had competed in the 2018 World Cup qualification final hexagonal. For the 2021 Gold Cup all teams will qualify via the Nations League.
“The Concacaf Nations League is about uniting the Confederation through meaningful competition, while providing an exciting pathway to the Gold Cup,” said Concacaf President Victor Montagliani. “Through this tournament, all 41 Concacaf Member Associations are able to follow the dream of competing on a more consistent basis, opening the door for continued development across our entire region.”
Nations League group stages will take place in the September, October and November 2019 international windows. The four League A group winners will advance to the Concacaf Nations League Finals in June 2020. The group winners from League B and League C will be promoted to League A and B, respectively, while the teams at the bottom of League A and League B will be relegated to League B and C, respectively, for the next edition of the Nations League.
The qualifying process for the 2021 Gold Cup will be as follows:
- Concacaf Nations League A (8 teams): After group stage play in November 2019, the top two teams from each of the four League A groups will qualify directly to the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.
- Concacaf Nations League B (4 teams): After group stage play in November 2019, the winner of each of the four League B groups will qualify directly to the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.
- Gold Cup Qualifiers (4 teams): After Concacaf Nations League group stage play in November 2019, the third-place finishers in League A, the second-place finishers in League B and the first-place finishers in League C will advance to a two-round qualifier, to be played in March and June of 2020.
For the first round of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup Qualifiers, the second-place finishers of League B will face the first-place finishers of League C in March of 2020. After home-and-away play, the four matchup winners will advance to the second round, where they will face the third-place finishers of League A in June of 2020. The four matchups winners of Round two will qualify to the 2021 Gold Cup.
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