2015–16 CONCACAF Champions League
The 2015–16 CONCACAF Champions League (officially the 2015–16 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League for sponsorship reasons) was the 8th edition of the CONCACAF Champions League under its current name, and overall the 51st edition of the premier football club competition organized by CONCACAF, the regional governing body of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
|2015–16 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League|
|Dates||August 4, 2015 – April 27, 2016|
|Teams||24 (from 12 associations)|
|Goals scored||159 (2.56 per match)|
|Best young player|
|Fair play award|
América were the defending champions, and won their second consecutive title, and seventh CONCACAF club title (including the CONCACAF Champions' Cup era), by beating fellow Mexican team UANL 4–1 on aggregate in the final. As the winner of the 2015–16 CONCACAF Champions League, they qualified as the CONCACAF representative at the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, their third appearance in the FIFA Club World Cup.
A total of 24 teams participated in the CONCACAF Champions League: nine from the North American Zone (from three associations), twelve from the Central American Zone (from at most seven associations), and three from the Caribbean Zone (from at most three associations). Therefore, a maximum of 13 out of the 41 CONCACAF member associations may participate in the tournament.
Clubs may be disqualified and replaced by a club from another association if the club does not have an available stadium that meets CONCACAF regulations for safety. If a club's own stadium fails to meet the set standards then it may find a suitable replacement stadium within its own country. However, if it is still determined that the club cannot provide the adequate facilities then it runs the risk of being replaced.
Nine teams from the North American Football Union (NAFU) qualify to the Champions League. The allocation to the three NAFU member associations is as follows: four berths for each of Mexico and the United States, and one berth for Canada.
For Mexico, the winners and runners-up of the Liga MX Apertura and Clausura tournaments earn berths in Pot 3 of the tournament's group stage. If a team reaches both tournament finals, the vacated berth is reallocated through regular season record.
For the United States, three berths are allocated through the Major League Soccer (MLS) regular season and playoffs; the fourth berth is allocated to the winner of its domestic cup competition, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. If U.S.-based, the MLS Cup winner, the Supporters' Shield winner, the other regular season conference winner and the U.S. Open Cup winner are placed in Pot 3. If a team qualifies through multiple berths, or if any of the MLS berths are taken by a Canada-based MLS team, the berth is reallocated to the best U.S.-based team in the Supporters' Shield table which has failed to otherwise qualify.
Because Canada hosted the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, the 2015 Canadian Championship, typically played April–May, was extended, with the finals in August. Because a winner therefore would not be determined before the start of the 2015–16 CONCACAF Champions League, for this season only, the lone Canadian berth into the tournament (in Pot 1) was given to the best Canadian team in the MLS regular season. The champions of the 2015 Canadian Championship would instead qualify for the 2016–17 CONCACAF Champions League, and the Canadian Championship schedule in future years will finish in June or July, after the CONCACAF Champions League draw each year, so future winners of the Voyageurs Cup (the Canadian Championship trophy) will earn entry into the Champions League for the following calendar year instead of the same calendar year as in previous tournaments.
Twelve teams from the Central American Football Union (UNCAF) qualify to the Champions League. The allocation to the seven UNCAF member associations is as follows: two berths for each of Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama and El Salvador, and one berth for each of Nicaragua and Belize. The teams from Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, and Panama are placed in Pot 2 and the teams from El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Belize are placed in Pot 1.
All of these leagues employ the split season with two tournaments in one year, so both tournament champions qualify if there are two available berths (if the same team wins both tournaments, the runner-up with the better aggregate record also qualifies), or the champion with the better aggregate record qualifies if there is only one available berth.
If one or more clubs is precluded, it is supplanted by a club from another Central American association. The reallocation is based on results from previous Champions League tournaments.
Three teams from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) qualify to the Champions League. The three berths, in Pot 1, are allocated to the top three finishers of the CFU Club Championship, a subcontinental tournament open to clubs from the 31 CFU member associations. In order for a team to qualify for the CFU Club Championship, they usually need to finish as the champion or runner-up of their respective association's league in the previous season, but professional teams may also be selected by their associations if they play in the league of another country.
If any Caribbean club is precluded, it is supplanted by the fourth-place finisher from the CFU Club Championship.
The following 24 teams (from 12 associations) qualified for the tournament.
In the following table, the number of appearances, last appearance, and previous best result count only those in the CONCACAF Champions League era starting from 2008–09 (not counting those in the era of the Champions' Cup from 1962 to 2008).
- Canada (CAN): Starting from 2015, the Canadian Championship will be played in the timeframe of June and July instead of April and May. As a result, the 2015 Canadian Championship will not be played in time to designate the Canadian representative for the 2015–16 CONCACAF Champions League. As such, it has been agreed with all participating clubs, and approved by CONCACAF, that the 2014 MLS regular season best Canadian team would be appointed the Canadian representative for the 2015–16 CONCACAF Champions League. This setup is for one season only, and starting from the 2016–17 CONCACAF Champions League, the winner of the previous season's Canadian Championship will be the Canadian representative for the CONCACAF Champions League (e.g., the winner of the 2015 Canadian Championship will qualify for the 2016–17 CONCACAF Champions League).
- United States (USA): The berth earned by Seattle Sounders FC for winning the U.S. Open Cup was passed to Real Salt Lake, the best U.S. team in the Supporters' Shield table not already qualified for the Champions League.
The draw for the tournament was held on June 1, 2015, 20:00 EDT (UTC−4), at the New World Center in Miami Beach, Florida. The 24 teams were drawn into eight groups of three, with each group containing one team from each of the three pots.
For the draw, the 24 teams were seeded into three pots. Teams from the same association (excluding "wildcard" teams which replace a team from another association) were placed in the same pot such that they could not be drawn into the same group:
- Pot 1 contained two teams from El Salvador, one team each from Canada, Nicaragua, and Belize, and three teams from the Caribbean.
- Pot 2 contained two teams each from Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, and Panama.
- Pot 3 contained four teams each from Mexico and the United States.
The seeding was changed from previous seasons where teams from the same association were placed in different pots.
The schedule of the competition was as follows.
|Stage||Round||First leg||Second leg|
|Group stage||Matchday 1||August 4–6, 2015|
|Matchday 2||August 18–20, 2015|
|Matchday 3||August 25–27, 2015|
|Matchday 4||September 15–17, 2015|
|Matchday 5||September 22–24, 2015|
|Matchday 6||October 20–22, 2015|
|Knockout stage||Quarterfinals||February 23–24, 2016||March 1–2, 2016|
|Semifinals||March 15–16, 2016||April 5, 2016|
|Finals||April 20, 2016||April 27, 2016|
The teams were ranked according to points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss). If tied on points, tiebreakers would be applied in the following order (Regulations, II. C. Tie-Breaker Procedures):
In the knockout stage, the eight teams played a single-elimination tournament. Each tie was played on a home-and-away two-legged basis, with the higher-seeded team hosting the second leg. The away goals rule would be used if the aggregate score was level after normal time of the second leg, but not after extra time, and so a tie would be decided by penalty shoot-out if the aggregate score was level after extra time of the second leg (Regulations, II. C. Tie-Breaker Procedures).
Starting from this season, the higher-seeded team in each tie would host the second leg throughout the knockout stage.
The qualified teams were seeded 1–8 in the knockout stage according to their results in the group stage.
Rules for classification: 1) Points; 2) Goal difference; 3) Goals scored; 4) Away goals scored; 5) Wins; 6) Away wins; 7) Drawing of lots (Regulations, II. C. Tie-Breaker Procedures).
|Team 1||Agg.||Team 2||1st leg||2nd leg|
|Seattle Sounders FC
|Team 1||Agg.||Team 2||1st leg||2nd leg|
América won 4–1 on aggregate.
|CONCACAF Champions League|
|Best Young Player|
|Fair Play Award||—|
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