The Belmopan Bandits of Belize have been drawn in Group Seven along with Leon of Mexico and Isidro Metapan of El Salvador for the 2014/2015 Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Championship League (CCL). The CCL is the qualifying competition on the road to the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup. The drawing took place on Wednesday May 28th at the InterContinental at Doral, Miami, USA.
he 24 qualified clubs set to contest the seventh edition of the continental championship were sorted into eight groups of three. Current holder of the title Cruz Azul of Mexico, which has captured a record six CONCACAF club titles, headlines Group 6. The Mexico City-based team will meet 2013/14 semifinalist Alajuelense of Costa Rica and Chorrillo FC of Panama.
After winning two straight Liga MX Championships, Leon of Mexico will make its tournament debut, squaring off against Group 7 opponents Isidro Metapan of El Salvador and first timer Belmopan Bandits of Belize.
The 24 teams were selected and placed into eight groups, which are as follows:
- Group 1: Pachuca (Mexico), Real España (Honduras), Municipal (Guatemala)
- Group 2: Sporting Kansas City (USA), Saprissa (Costa Rica), Real Esteli (Nicaragua)
- Group 3: New York Red Bulls (USA), Toronto FC or Impact de Montreal (Canada), FAS (El Salvador)
- Group 4: Tauro FC (Panama), D.C. United (USA), Waterhouse FC (Jamaica)
- Group 5: Olimpia (Honduras), Portland Timbers (USA), Alpha United (Guyana)
- Group 6: Alajuelense (Costa Rica), Cruz Azul (Mexico), Chorrillo FC (Panama)
- Group 7: Leon (Mexico), Isidro Metapan (El Salvador), Belmopan Bandits (Belize)
- Group 8: Comunicaciones (Guatemala), Club America (Mexico), Puerto Rico Bayamon FC (Puerto Rico)
The groups will be contested in a round-robin, home-and-away, four-game format, running from August to October in various venues, including Belmopan, Belize. Only the eight first-place teams will progress to the quarterfinals, which will kick-off in early 2015.
Belize has not been in the CCL for many years and the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) said that they are happy that this time around, Belize is able to participate in the league. The FFB has been working to improve the only FIFA certified stadium in Belize, the FFB Field in Belmopan. So far all the necessary lights have been installed with minor renovations being done. Works to improve the football pitch has been moving ahead and when completed, it will boast a high standard of field with grass imported from Mexico, in an effort to accommodate the international matches.
Schedules for the games will be announced in the coming weeks by CONCACAF.