Significant changes are coming to the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
CONCACAF announced on Monday that the regional championship tournament will expand to 16 teams starting in 2019, its next edition.
The confederation also revealed that it is “exploring a pan-regional footprint” for next year’s event, meaning that matches could be played in Central America and the Caribbean, which in CONCACAF’s words would “fulfill a long-term aspiration” for member nations in those regions.
The qualifying process for the expanded Gold Cup will be revealed at the upcoming CONCACAF Nations League launch event on March 7 in Miami Beach, Florida, while the process and criteria for host sites will be outlined by CONCACAF “in the coming months.”
“The expansion of the Gold Cup and the upcoming launch of the CONCACAF Nations League are key steps in delivering on the ONE CONCACAF Vision, to make the region’s most competitive football more accessible to more of our confederation’s teams, players and fans,” said CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani in a press release.
“By widening access to these important tournaments for more of our member associations, we work towards our goal of ensuring that the football produced in the CONCACAF region is of the highest quality in the world.”
Since the tournament was first played in 1992, the lion’s share of Gold Cup action has taken place in the United States apart from matches held in Mexico in 1993 and 2003 and in Canada in 2015. The US national team are the current reigning champions.
Flow Sports nets CONCACAF rights deal
The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) has agreed a wide-ranging multi-year rights deal with Caribbean pay-television broadcaster Flow Sports.
At the core of the deal, the pan-Caribbean broadcaster has secured English-language rights across its footprint for the upcoming editions of club championships the Champions League, Concacaf League, and the newly-launched Caribbean Club Championship.
Flow, which is owned by British telco Cable & Wireless, has also secured title sponsorship rights to the Caribbean Club Championship. Concacaf’s two new Caribbean club competitions – the Flow Caribbean Club Championship and the accompanying Caribbean Club Shield – will feature 20 clubs from 16 Caribbean member associations.
The competitions will be divided in two tiers, the Championship for fully professional clubs, and the Shield for clubs from Caribbean leagues still working towards fully-licensed, professional status.
Together, the new regional qualifying championships will serve as the Caribbean qualifying tournament for the Concacaf League and the Champions League, and aims to secure wider participation of Caribbean clubs in confederation championships.
The agreement also includes other Concacaf tournaments during the term of the deal. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“The integration of our regional assets and platforms to benefit all of the Confederation is a key pillar of our One Concacaf Vision,” Concacaf president Victor Montagliani (pictured) said. “This partnership with Flow Sports – both in terms of the expanded broadcasts of Concacaf tournaments to the Caribbean and the support for the new, expanded Caribbean Club Championship – is the result of our collective efforts and additional fuel for the growth of the game in the region.”
The agreement with Flow Sports includes the following Caribbean territories: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, St Martin, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Turks & Caicos.