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CONCACAF announces Gold Cup expansion, potential pan-regional hosting

The CONCACAF Gold Cup is set for some change as expansion and a potential change of scenery could be coming to the 2019 tournament.

CONCACAF announced on Monday that the Gold Cup will expand to include 16 nations for the upcoming 2019 edition and beyond. The tournament previously featured 12 countries separated into three groups.

In addition, the tournament may feature matches outside of the U.S. for only the fourth time since 1991 as the federation is exploring the idea of a pan-regional footprint for the 2019 Gold Cup. The federation says that, for the first time, matches could be played in Central America and the Carribean with the U.S., Mexico and Canada having served as prior match hosts.

The new-look qualifying process for a 16-team tournament will be revealed in March.

“The expansion of the Gold Cup and the upcoming launch of the CONCACAF Nations League are key steps in delivering on the ONE CONCACAF Vision, to make the region’s most competitive football more accessible to more of our Confederation’s teams, players and fans,” said CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani.

“By widening access to these important tournaments for more of our Member Associations, we work towards our goal of ensuring that the football produced in the CONCACAF region is of the highest quality in the world.”

The U.S. Men’s National Team won the most recent Gold Cup, topping Jamaica in the tournament final this past summer.


  1. Gold Cup is irrelevant and unwatchable as is. The quality is really really poor. Brining in more crappy teams us helping how exactly? Scrap the tournament, merge with South American teams for a joint Copa America going forward.

  2. let the winners host all the games after the group stage, including the final. why not? it would make the tournament far more exciting for every concacaf nation.

  3. Its facilities, these other countries don’t have the number of quality pitches to play a tournament. Mexico could but the cost of security would be much higher and they draw as many fans in the States. Canada would have to use almost all artificial turf. When you also include training facilities the US makes the most sense. Plus the US has one of the least home field advantages out of the region so why not let us host.

  4. Curious to know why we think that match ups like Guyana v Panama, Jamaica v Nicaragua, CRC v Cuba would draw fans. Not even sure Honduras, Nicaragua or El Salvador would have a lot of fans traveling to Mexico. Maybe there are decent sized ex-pat communities in some of the major Mexican cities? Does anyone know? Seems until the TV rights are what drive revenues for this tournament, the US is where most of the matches will have to be played.

  5. I could fully support the group stage being played at various venues throughout North and Central America … Which means that the US also has to travel to these places… Then have the final knockout stage played in either Canada, Mexico or the United States

  6. Fully expect the CONCACAF Nations League to play a part in the qualifying.

    Interesting to see how that affects the three North American teams. Will they no longer get a free pass in qualifying? I kind of hope so, even it’s just a home-and-home with a Bermuda or Nicaragua.

  7. Makes sense. Start the group stage matches in the home stadiums across Concacaf and then host the ko rounds in the USA.

    I would like to see the KO’s more regional too.

    • I’d love to see a Gold Cup away from USA but money dictates otherwise. This seems like a reasonable proposal. I like the expansion too, because I hate having 3rd place teams from groups make the next round.

  8. Unless I’m missing something, this announcement doesn’t specify that this expansion will be 16 teams exclusively from CONCACAF. I think it’s implied, since they stated “make the region’s most competitive football more accessible to more of our Confederation’s teams, players and fans”. And that’s a shame. CONMEBOL still makes room for Mexico or some other random non-SA team, which introduces an element of unknown.

    • CONMEBOL also only has 10 members which really requires additional teams to have an tournament.
      This growth to 16 for CONCACAF isn’t a bad move. Allows a few more countries the opportunity to participate without drastically changing the tournament. 4 groups of 4 with top 2 advancing instead of third place teams advancing with the previous 3 groups of 4.
      We can still spread Gold Cup games and include the US also: Southeast US + Carribean. Southwest US + Mexico, Northeast US + Canada are all options.

    • The logical alternative hosts would be Mexico and Canada. I think Costa Rica could be a potential Central American host, particularly with its recent form in the last 2 WC cycles.

      • Costa Rica doesn’t have enough suitable stadiums. FIFA has already ruled that Saprissa is no longer acceptable for international matches. For the last two WCQ cycles, the US has played at the Taiwan-built national stadium in San Jose. AFAIK it is the only FIFA approved stadium in the entire country.

  9. Michael Bradley and Dempsey,must understand that thers cicle in the USAMNT end,they shoul help the new face under 25,Timmy Chandler now is better than Bradley an he should play,Michael,was a star in the past,we want a USAMNT stronger and Fast and only the young do it

  10. Why can’t they just rotate hosting the regional championship, like a normal region? This is like a bass-ackwards way of keeping the one host (USA) but doling out some of the involvement to others. England doesn’t host every Euro and then they say, oh, France, since you’d like to host, too, you get a group stage doubleheader of England’s tournament.

    I mean, every other tournament (U-23 qualifying, U-20, etc.) rotates.

    • Why don’t they rotate? Because the facilities and stadia in the US make the Gold Cup a repetitive cash cow for CONCACAF.

      I am surprised, however, that Mexico and Canada haven’t made a (more public) demand to host too.

      • It’s kind of corrupt to let money dictate who hosts, and there was that FIFA thing.

        The only US win away in two rounds of qualifying was Saint Vincent. By my count, 7 road points in 8 contests.

        I thought we were trying to get away from money and back to whatever it takes to qualify.

      • Of course it’s a bit corrupt. Money is what makes these tournaments even possible. But show me a country who cares. EVERYBODY in CONCACAF makes money off of a profitable Gold Cup (and many countries desperately need the extra shared cash), and the margins wouldn’t even be close in Central America or the Caribbean. Not sure how many Gold Cup games you’ve been to, but I can assure you that these countries do not suffer from a massive deficit in fan support. And if anybody does get a wildly tilted advantage, it’s Mexico.

    • Are you talking about the Gold Cup or the World Cup qualifying now? They are two entirely different competitions in our region – you have to admit that. We are talking – I thought – about hosting the finals of the Gold Cup. I mean, the carribbean islands can’t host the Gold Cup anymore. How would that work?

      Also, if you look at the UEFA’s, they have moved the host a bit more than the Gold Cup, but generally it is still held in the “big” countries, but those countries are more – I will say – developed – than most central american countries.


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