OFC changes Champions League format


In a statement, OFC presents changes for the 2022 Champions League, as well as the cancellation of two tournaments.

Magenta celebrates scoring a goal in the 2019 OFC Champions League (Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek)

The Pacific Football Confederation executive committee this week approved changes to the region’s competition calendar for 2022 and a new format for next year’s OFC Champions League.

The changes, which were confirmed via an online committee meeting, come in response to persistent issues presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2022 OFC Champions League overhaul will involve 18 teams through the qualifying phase, which will consist of a qualifying tournament and separate domestic playoffs.

The National League winner of American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga will compete in a centralized qualifying tournament at a location to be determined, with the winner joining the seven national playoff winners from the remaining member associations during the OFC Champions League final. 2022.

The national qualifiers will see the top two nominated teams from Fiji, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea face off in a match where the winner takes the win. everything, organized in their own country, with the winner advancing to the finals.

At the same meeting, the committee also agreed to cancel both the OFC Women’s Championship U-19 and the OFC Women’s Championship U-16 which were due to take place next year.

Subsequently, New Zealand was named as an OFC participant for the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, based on historical results. of both competitions.

Instead of the canceled OFC U-16 championship next year, Tahiti has been named host of the 2023 OFC U-16 Women’s Championship.

OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo said the committee had several factors to consider when making its decisions.

“While we were hoping to run our calendar of events as usual next year, the current challenges presented by the pandemic unfortunately mean it was not a realistic option,” Castillo said.

“The health and well-being of our young footballers was at the forefront of our thinking.

“We also wanted to make sure that the designated teams, in this case New Zealand, had enough time to plan and prepare for the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and the U-17 Women’s World Cup. FIFA 2022.

“The new format of the OFC Champions League 2022 minimizes travel to the region, while giving the best clubs in our member associations a fair chance to play against the best of their peers. “

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