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CONCACAF to move to South American Qualifying?


theaub

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This is awesome news if it goes down. 12 home games can only be a good thing.

11 home games, of course.

And using current FIFA rankings as a guide, those 12 teams should be:

US, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, CANADA, El Salvador, Panama, Jamaica, Haiti, Warnerville, Guatemala, Antigua and Barbuda.

Although I would expect Cuba (15th.) to break into the twelve rather than A&B.

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Let me post the article so it exists in a few years time. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

Okay.... we start the 22 match round robin over 3 years before the World Cup like the 18 match South American round robin (which starts immediately after the Copa America in 2011), and we start the opening and preliminary rounds to whittle our 30 plus nations down to the manageble 12 THIS September. And in that time, we also fit in two Gold Cups.

Wonderful. ;)

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CONCACAF to revisit W'Cup qualifying format

BY Sean Williams

Thursday, May 06, 2010

THE Executive Committee of CONCACAF will meet today and tomorrow where it is expected to explore the idea of reforming its World Cup qualifying format.

Though he could not give details, committee member, Jamaican Captain Horace Burrell, conceded the confederation will be looking seriously at a proposal to fashion its qualification tournament off that of CONMEBOL, the grouping of South America's football-playing countries.

"I can't say much right now as this is still a matter under discussion, but I know that it will be high on the list of things that we will be addressing over the next two days," he said.

"Yes, we are looking to see if we can have a similar format to what exists in South America, which would give the final 12 teams of CONCACAF more matches in a World Cup qualifying tournament," added Burrell, who is also senior vice-president of the Caribbean Football Union.

If adopted, it means that the existing three-group semi-final stage of 12 nations will be scrapped for a one-group set-up -- similarly to what obtains in South America -- where the 12 CONCACAF finalists would play each other twice in a home-and-away format with 22 matches for each team.

"This would mean more matches for the teams. I don't think the present format is conducive to overall football development, therefore we hope for the sake of the game in the confederation, and the Caribbean in particular, that some meaningful discussion will emerge from the meetings," said Burrell, the head of Jamaica's football.

CONCACAF is the association embracing football-playing nations of North and Central America and the Caribbean

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I think most would agree that 22 matches is too many. But there's no reason why the final round could not be a more manageable number, like 8 teams or 10 teams. Either way, I'd much prefer it to the current format.

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It would be at least 22 matches, depending on how the other 23 countries get eliminated. This is where the biggest problem of this format lies. You need to find a quick way to eliminate the lesser teams while still giving them a legitimate chance of qualifying.

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A team reaching the hex already plays sixteen matches in the third and fourth rounds; six more would hardly be the end of the world.

Especially when a single table would eliminate the ridiculous imbalance that allows teams like Trinidad and El Salvador to reach the final round of qualifying simply by seating the likes of St. Kitts, while other teams contend with mini groups of death.

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For a country like Canada that doesn't regularly (yet) qualify for the hex, this would assure us 22 games....awesome! How many did we play last time? 8? This gives us more chances to cap tie players! Also, 11 home games over 3 years PLUS a few home friendlies interspread here and there would be a good situation.....

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This would be much fairer, and despite it's potential drawbacks, I think it would be fantastic for us. I, too, would like to see it as a final group of ten but of course, the smaller you whittle that final group down to, the bigger the chance that we might not make it into the final group, depending on how qualifying for that group is determined. We could easily lose a home-and-away with Cuba, for instance.

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Would probably be best to have eight teams in the final round. Keeps the quality high without sacrificing too many matches. Still 14 matches per team... imagine Canada playing 7 times at home

If of course we made this final 8 team final round

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As it stands now, a team qualifying for the World Cup out of CONCACAF (excluding those requiring a playoff against South America #5) plays 16 matches, starting two years before the tournament (2 x preliminary round tie + 6 x semifinal group + 10 x hexagonal final group stage).

I think that this plan is definitely workable. You just need to have the same preliminary round qualifiers that are currently in place, but they'd have to be done six months earlier. The 12 teams that now play in the three semifinal groups just proceed directly to the final, single-table qualifying group. The final group would start at the same time that the two-legged preliminary qualifiers currently are played and you make the Gold Cup a quadrennial event played the year after the World Cup, leaving the extra dates one year before the World Cup for the extra two qualifying rounds.

By making these changes, the top CONCACAF teams would play 30 competitive matches (GC and WCQ), plus friendlies in each four year cycle, without taking into account World Cup finals matches for the three or four teams that would qualify. The increased competitive matches will vastly improve the overall quality of play in the region.

The only objections would likely come from Mexico and the USA, who will feel that they will perpetually qualify under the current format and still allow them enough dates to play high-profile, lucrative friendlies with SA and Euro nations, and T&T, who would no longer be able to benefit from fixed draws. SUM would not likely be happy with the lost revenue from changing the GC from a biennial to quadrennial event, either. The vast majority of CONCACAF, your Canadas, Hondurases, Cubas, etc. would greatly benefit from the guaranteed increase in competitive matches once they have negotiated the preliminary round, even if it doesn't necessarily increase their overall odds of qualifying for the World Cup.

From Canada's perspective, it'd be great. It would take away the likelihood that CSA incompetence and poverty would stand in the way of them organising the matches that our team needs. They'd have no choice but to host at least 12 home matches each four years even without any friendlies. That's enough to keep the fans in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal happy. Our coaches will finally have enough time with the players to develop the familiarity and chemistry we need to make a proper run at qualifying. It'd also give us a constant stream of competitive, senior matches with which to cap-tie future Begovic-types.

Sadly, I don't see it coming to pass, though. Even though it would be beneficial for most CONCACAF members, Mexico, the USA, and T&T are calling all the shots in the farce that is CONCACAF. They each have their reasons for maintaining the status quo, so nothing will ever change.

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^ Agree with everything you said. 12 teams is perfect for this final round, although the CONCACRAP article suggests it won't be something like this. I think they're just looking to make the second round a group stage:

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CONCACAF to seek change in World Cup qualifying

NEW YORK - CONCACAF will propose a change in its qualifying format for the 2014 World Cup, starting with a preliminary knockout stage followed by three group phases, the confederation Executive Committee decided Friday.

Meeting at CONCACAF's New York headquarters, the committee decided to submit to FIFA the new structure aimed at guaranteeing more early round matches.

"In response to the needs of our membership, we are proposing a new system that will provide substantially more playing opportunities while producing a fair and compelling qualifying competition," CONCACAF President Jack Warner said.

The Executive Committee also awarded the 2012 Women's Olympic qualifying tournament to Canada, chose Guadalajara, Mexico, for the site of its 50th anniversary celebrations in 2011 and decided to recommend that FIFA suspend the El Salvador federation due to government intervention.

"I hope that the Salvadoran issue is resolved in time for the Salvadoran teams to participate in this year's Champions League," Warner said.

The committee also heard a briefing from the Russian federation on its bid to be selected later this year as host of the 2018 or 2022 World Cup . U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati also updated the board on the American bid, which will be submitted to FIFA on May 14.

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Wow, Warner talking about a format producing a fair qualification competition. Things are looking good. :rolleyes:

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22 games in one round is way too much, especially for some smaller country qualifying, and the suspense of a 12-team second round would be greatly diminished as you've only got 4 spots.

I still would prefer a double-hex (2x6) final round, but you wouldn't have CONCACAF's marquee matchup in WCQ, and I can see why that would be a problem.

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Yeah, I see your point about the balloon bursting once Mexico and the US pull miles ahead, and a few others are scrapping out for the other 1.5 places. The bottom 6 (I dare say, possibly including us) could be left playing out the schedule with little to no incentive to achieve anything.

But what if it ran like a proper league table, and say, the bottom 4 were relegated back to the qualifying pool for the next sequence of WCQ.

- Teams finishing 1st-3rd go to the World Cup Finals.

- The team finishing 4th goes to the play-off for the World Cup FInals.

- Teams finishing 1st-8th are automatically re-entered into the final group for the next WCQ.

- Teams finishing 9th-12th are relegated back to the 'qualification pool', where they would have to fight it out with the minnows to get back into the final group in the next WCQ.

You would have to alter the qualification for the 'final group' a bit, but you get my point. At least if it doesn't look like we're going to Brazil, we might still get the joy of avoiding relegation, so to speak.

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Have to echo the sentiments on this one. This is terrific news if the proposed format materializes. The key quote in the piece that is worth repeating is: " I don't think the present format is conducive to overall football development". Cant agree more with that point. Consider, that over the past three world cup cycles, Canada has been eliminated fully two years before the world cup finals are held and long before most of the world starts to pay serious attention to World Cup qualifying matches. Our world cup qualifying campaign lasted something like six to eight weeks if you excluded the matches that were ultimately meaningless because our fate was sealed. You cannot grow the game under those circumstances.

This would mean that that there would be important and meaningful matches played over a span of at least 12-18 months. And we would not find ourselves in the current situation like we have been in the past year where whereby I find myself wondering what is even the point of this forum. There is just no prestige in friendlies anymore. They don't hand out trophies for winning friendlies and it means squat what you did in friendlies or even the Gold Cup, if you bomb out in WCQ . They are what they are, exhibition games. They are for preparation and evaluation and may be fine for the fanatics like us but its impossible for anyone (even the fanatics) to have the same emotional involvement towards matches other than WCQ and WC. In int'l soccer(especially CONCACAF), it the WC that counts BECAUSE we don't have anything like Euros or Copa America in our region. To suggest that the Gold Cup is or will ever be comparable, is naive.

So, how can you grow the game in Canada when for 3 out four years, there are no games of prestige or importance played? My fingers are crossed that this format (or even the final two groups of six) comes to fruition.

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I agree with what you said. There have been examples of smaller concacaf sides not having the resources to play in a drawn out qualifying process. But nothing is worst than the current situation. Currently, failure in WCQ begets future failure because you miss out on the valuable experience that is gained from playing in important matches. It becomes a vicious cycle. The current format suits Mexico and the the US just fine but nobody else.

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^ Agree with everything you said. 12 teams is perfect for this final round, although the CONCACRAP article suggests it won't be something like this. I think they're just looking to make the second round a group stage:

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CONCACAF to seek change in World Cup qualifying

NEW YORK - CONCACAF will propose a change in its qualifying format for the 2014 World Cup, starting with a preliminary knockout stage followed by three group phases, the confederation Executive Committee decided Friday.

Meeting at CONCACAF's New York headquarters, the committee decided to submit to FIFA the new structure aimed at guaranteeing more early round matches.

"In response to the needs of our membership, we are proposing a new system that will provide substantially more playing opportunities while producing a fair and compelling qualifying competition," CONCACAF President Jack Warner said.

The Executive Committee also awarded the 2012 Women's Olympic qualifying tournament to Canada, chose Guadalajara, Mexico, for the site of its 50th anniversary celebrations in 2011 and decided to recommend that FIFA suspend the El Salvador federation due to government intervention.

"I hope that the Salvadoran issue is resolved in time for the Salvadoran teams to participate in this year's Champions League," Warner said.

The committee also heard a briefing from the Russian federation on its bid to be selected later this year as host of the 2018 or 2022 World Cup . U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati also updated the board on the American bid, which will be submitted to FIFA on May 14.

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Wow, Warner talking about a format producing a fair qualification competition. Things are looking good. :rolleyes:

Well that stinks. A third group stage with the minnows?? Really??? I want more games but not against the scrubs.

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Still to early to tell but it sounds like this means, they'd keep the first Round the same, the second round would consist of 6 groups of 4 and then things would proceed as they have in the past with the semi final and final groups.

Canada would more than likely receive a bye to the second round because the first round of knockouts is usually reserved for those teams ranked 14-35 in CONCACAF.

If this is in fact the change I can't help but think that Jack Warner is once again thinking about Trinidad and Tobago who were almost eliminated by Bermuda in the Second Round knockout phase of 2010 qualifying.

Creating a group stage at this phase would almost guarantee we've seen the last of the El Salvadorian type qualifying runs. They'd now have to displace two quality teams over a 6 game stretch rather than play great for only two matches against the same opponent.

I hope at the very least this new format will reduce the likeliness of semi-final groups of death, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

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I think the more likley scenario is the top 9 qualify for the final round automatically. The remaining 25 or so sides play a first round knockout to get down to 12. They are divided into 3 groups of 4 with only the top side qualifying. I think this is more designed to give the mid level sides like guatemala, cuba, puerto rico more matches in a competive environment. I can't see the US or Mexico wanting to play 8 more matches in addition to an already high final 22. It just doesn't fit in the calendar for them. This means we would need to be ranked in the top 9 to avoid the first phase. I would think we would in most cycles but no guarantee. This also gives sides like Canada, El Salvador, Trindidad, Haiti, many more competitive matches if we are in the last 12. Very important for our soccer development.

Also, the top 6 doesn't really work when you try to work out the numbers for an automatic bye so I think the cut off would be top 9.

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Well that stinks. A third group stage with the minnows?? Really??? I want more games but not against the scrubs.

Id guess it would be, take 35 down to 24 (11vs11) for preliminary round, so 13 teams get a bye. Then 6 groups of 4 maybe, then 3 groups of 4, then the hex? Im hoping somehow the final group turns into a group of 8.

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