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CONCACAF announces new Champions League format

FC Dallas will not have to deal with CCL games this fall.

MLS: CONCACAF Champions League-Club America at Montreal Impact Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

CONCACAF announced on Monday a new format to the Champions League tournament. Beginning with this fall, the new format will see a shift in the club tournament to be a spring to fall, instead of the fall to spring format that we’ve seen these last few years.

The expanded CONCACAF club competitions platform will feature 31 club teams – increased from 24 -- from across the Confederation, beginning with the 2017/18 season of club competition. Sixteen clubs from countries around the region, including Canada, Mexico and the United States, Central America and the Caribbean, will compete in a concentrated CONCACAF Champions League to be disputed between February and May of each year, beginning in 2018. Additionally, beginning in August 2017, sixteen clubs from Central America and the Caribbean will participate in a new tournament, which will culminate in October.

The revamped club competitions framework, allowing for a less congested schedule for all participating clubs, features two distinct tournaments which each crown a champion – an August to October championship featuring qualified teams from Central America and the Caribbean, and the February to May Champions League featuring top clubs from across the region, including Liga MX and Major League Soccer.

Those sixteen teams will be drawn into eight home-and-away fixtures. The winners of the first round series, determined on aggregate goals, will advance to the quarterfinals, and the home-and-away knockout process continues through October with semifinals and a home-and-away Grand Final, when a champion is crowned.

While FC Dallas will finish the current CCL this spring, they will not have to deal with schedule congestion again this fall as they’ll get moved into the new tournament format for next spring.

The Seattle Sounders, FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls, Colorado Rapids and Toronto FC are the MLS teams currently slated to take place in the first edition of the new CONCACAF Champions League.