CONCACAF changes Champions League format

CONCACAF changes Champions League format

Published Jan. 12, 2012 9:18 p.m. ET

The preliminary round of the CONCACAF Champions League will be eliminated for the 2012-13 season, and the group phase will expand from 16 teams to 24.

Soccer's governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean said Thursday the first round will be extended from six weeks to eight and will start July 31 and end by Oct. 25. A team from the U.S. or Mexico will be in each of the eight first-round groups.

The winners of the three-team groups make the quarterfinals. In the past, 16 teams met in the preliminary round - eight advanced to the group phase and eight had byes.

Teams from the same nation can't be in the same group unless one is a wild card replacing a team from a country without a suitable stadium.