Concacaf sets draw and dates for 16-team Champions League

January 29 – Hard on the heels of the AFC’s Champions league draw earlier this week, Concacaf  have said they will hoid their 16-team Champions League draw February 10.

Last year’s winners of the AFC’s and Concacaf’s Champions Leagues – Ulsan Hyundai and Tigres UANL – face each other February 4 at the Club World Cup in Qatar. The winners will play the Copa Libertadores champions on February 7 in the semi-final. Conmebol complete that competition January 30 at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro with a final between Brazil’s Palmeiras and Santos.

Both confederations need to qualify teams for the second Club World Cup of 2021 in December in Qatar. With calendars already packed with World Cup qualifying requirements, and Concacaf hosting an expanded edition of its blue riband Gold Cup in the US in the summer, dates for its club competition are becoming tight and with reduced flexibility.

Concacaf has streamlined its competition slightly, focusing on a 16 team knock out competition with ties over two legs, but with the final being played as a single match.

The competition will begin play in early April and conclude with the final in October.

One team that will not be in the February draw is current champions Tigres who failed to qualify from Mexico’s LigaMX. Mexico has had a vice-like grip on the Champions League having won the last 15 editions. In 2021 they will be represented by Club América, Club León, Cruz Azul and CF Monterrey.

Their biggest challenge will again come from the US and the MLS whose teams have demonstrated a growing appetite for the competition. Atlanta United, Columbus Crew, Philadelphia Union and Portland Timbers will be in the draw. Canadian MLS franchise Toronto may also qualify if they win the Canadian Cup.

Competing clubs:

Canada: Forge FC or Toronto FC (winner of the 2020 Canadian Championship will compete, date TBC)
Costa Rica: Deportivo Saprissa and LD Alajuelense
Dominican Republic: Club Atletico Pantoja
Haiti: Arcahaie FC
Honduras: CD Marathon and CD Olimpia
Mexico: Club América, Club León, Cruz Azul and CF Monterrey
Nicaragua: Real Estelí FC
USA: Atlanta United FC, Columbus Crew SC, Philadelphia Union and Portland Timbers
Match dates:

Round of 16: April 6-8 (first leg) and April 13-15 (second leg)
Quarterfinals: April 27-29 (first leg) and May 4-6 (second leg)
Semifinals: August 10-12 (first leg) and September 14-16 (second leg)
Final: October 26-28 (single leg)

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