This week, the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) announced that Belize's entry, the Belmopan Bandits, was ejected from 2014/15 CONCACAF Champions League competition after the field at Belize’s National Stadium was deemed unplayable.
The Belize Bandits will be replaced by Costa Rica's Club Sport Herediano in Group 7 in the 2014/15 edition of the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL). As Belize is a member of the Central American Football Union, its representative is replaced, via statute, by a team from the Central American region’s top-performing country in the previous edition of the Champions League. Costa Rica merited the extra berth by the performance of its clubs in the 2013/14 edition of the tournament.
CONCACAF twice inspected the playing surface at the National Stadium on August 10, and discovered conditions that did not meet Champions League standards for home fields in the competition regulations (Articles 2.2.1 f, 3.8 a, 4.2 b, 4.7 a. and section 10.1). No other CCL-compliant stadium is currently available in Belize.
3 Costa Rica clubs now competing in CCL
Costa Rica's CD Alajuelense and Deportivo Saprissa are already participants in the current edition of the CONCACAF Champions League. Club Sport Herediano earns the third Costa Rican bid as the top cumulative point winner during the Costa Rican Winter 2013 and Summer 2014 Tournaments.
Herediano will now play in its fourth consecutive CONCACAF Champions League. The Costa Rican club will debut in Group 7, hosting Isidro Metapan.
5 MLS sides to compete
Twenty-four teams will participate in this season’s Champions League. 2014 Canadian Championship winner Impact de Montreal launched MLS participation in the 2014/15 CCL, beating El Salvador’s Club Deportivo FAS 1-0 at Stade Saputo on August 5. MLS sides DC United, New York Red Bulls, Portland Timbers, and Sporting KC will also competing in the tournament.