CFU kicks off Caribbean Cup with new format and new bank sponsor

March 24 – The Caribbean Cup 2016 kicked off this week with a new format and a new title sponsor in the form of Scotiabank. Cuba, Grenada and Guyana all won their opening games as seven groups begin play to qualify 15 teams for the next round.

The Caribbean Football Union (CFU) has changed the structure of the competition with this edition.

The first round will see seven groups of three qualify 15 teams to a further five groups of three, with the introduction of St Vincent and the Grenadines at this stage. This second round will qualify five teams for a third round of eight with the introduction of Jamaica (current champions), Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago.

Rounds 2 and 3 will begin in June and October, respectively, of this year. The final round is scheduled to be played in May 2017. The finals host is still to be named.

CFU president Gordon Derrick said: “This is an important event for us. It will show how we are progressing across our whole region and how committed our people are. We have kept the competition within the international dates in the FIFA calendar and to do this we have created seven groups of three teams. Each country will have one home game and no-one will have to play more than twice in that international window.”

The top four teams qualify for the 2017 Gold Cup with the fifth placed team winning a play off with Central America’s sixth placed team for a further Gold Cup place.

Also new to the competition rules is that all matches will be played to a winning result. Teams that are tied at the end of extra time will go to penalty shoot-out.

With every match having a winner the likelihood of teams being level on points and on goal differentiation is slim, hence avoiding the need for any tie-breakers in qualification stages.

No figure has been released for the Scotiabank sponsorship which arrives in the Caribbean via the major partnership the bank has with regional governing body CONCACAF.

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