The 2021 CONCACAF Champions League will begin in April, with the competition’s draw scheduled for Feb. 10 in Miami, it was announced on Friday.
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Like most competitions around the globe, the CCL has been negatively impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Typically, the competition begins in February and concludes in late April. But after starting on time last year, the latter stages and the final were played in December. This time around scheduling and travel challenges due to the pandemic have pushed the start date to April.
Tigres UANL defeated LAFC 2-1 in the final in Orlando to win their first CCL title, further extending Liga MX’s dominance of the tournament.
“Despite significant challenges last year, the 2020 edition of the [tournament] was a major highlight for CONCACAF and for club football in the region. It included great matchups which fans enjoyed in record numbers both in attendance in the early rounds and on TV throughout the tournament,” said CONCACAF President and FIFA Vice President Victor Montagliani. “We want to build on that in 2021, the 60th anniversary year for our Confederation, with another great competition to crown a regional club champion who will also qualify for the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup.”
The confirmed Major League Soccer teams competing in the upcoming tournament are MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew SC, MLS is Back tournament winners Portland Timbers, Supporters’ Shield holders Philadelphia Union, and 2019 U.S. Open Cup winners Atlanta United FC.
The round of 16 and quarterfinals will take place in April, while the semifinals will be held in August. Each of those three rounds will be contested over two legs.
The final will be comprised of just a single leg and will take place in late October. The host for the single leg final will be the highest performing club in the earlier rounds, based on wins, draws and, if required, goal difference.