From the Amway Canadian Championship to the FIFA Club World Cup
The Amway Canadian Championship is the Canadian Soccer Association’s annual professional club cup competition. The Championship winner is awarded the Voyageurs Cup and is registered as Canada’s representative in CONCACAF Champions League, the confederation championship which in turn qualifies one club for the FIFA Club World Cup.
The Championship itself is a knock-out competition, with four teams split into two semi-final series. Each semi-final winner advances to the final series. Every series is played over two matches, with each team hosting one leg at their home venue. The team with the most goals scored after two matches wins the series.
In 2012, Toronto FC will face Impact Montréal in one semi-final series while Vancouver Whitecaps FC will face FC Edmonton in the other semi-final series. Semi-final matches will be played on Wednesday 2 May (in Montréal and Edmonton) and Wednesday 9 May (in Toronto and Vancouver). The two final series matches will be played on Wednesday 16 May and Wednesday 23 May.
If the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs, the team which scores more away goals is determined as the winner. If this tie-breaker does not produce a winner, then both teams will play two 15-minute periods of extra time after the second leg. If, during extra time, both teams score the same number of goals, the away goals will count as double in favour of the visiting team. If no goals are scored during extra time, then kicks from the penalty mark (in accordance with FIFA Laws of the Game) will be used to determine the winner.
SEEDING THE TEAMS
At the moment, the four teams participating in the Amway Canadian Championship come from Major League Soccer (first division) and the North American Soccer League (second division). To determine the semi-final match-ups, teams are seeded based on standings in their respective leagues. As such, it will be the 2012 MLS and NASL standings that determine the seeding for the 2013 Amway Canadian Championship (three MLS teams followed by one NASL team). For the 2012 Championship, the seeding was based on the 2011 standings, with Toronto FC first (MLS), Vancouver Whitecaps FC second (MLS), FC Edmonton third (NASL) and Impact Montréal fourth (until last year, NASL).
When more Canadian teams join a second division (ie, NASL), then a Championship Qualifying round will be played to determine the fourth team in the Amway Canadian Championship. The qualified team from second division (NASL) would still be seeded behind the three automatic berths from first division (MLS).
Seven days before the Amway Canadian Championship, the clubs must submit their rosters to the Canadian Soccer Association. The roster must feature no more than 30 players. No later than 48 hours (two days) before each match, clubs must submit a list of 23 players from their roster. Sixty-five minutes before kickoff, clubs must submit an 18-player lineup with 11 starters and seven substitutions. A maximum of three of those seven substitute players can be used in the match.
Club rosters will feature a maximum of 30 players. As such, clubs that submit fewer than 30 players at the onset of the competition can then add new players until they have filled their 30 roster spots. A player must appear on the club roster to be eligible to compete in the Amway Canadian Championship. After featuring in a match with one club, a player may not appear for any other club for the duration of that season’s Amway Canadian Championship.
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
CONCACAF Champions League features 24 teams from across the continent, with presently one Canadian team included in the competition. The Amway Canadian Championship is the only qualification route for Canadian professional clubs to enter this competition. As such, a Canadian champion must be declared in advance of the new CONCACAF Champions League season, in accordance with the schedule set forth by CONCACAF. The 2012 Canadian champion will qualify for the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League season; the 2012-13 CONCACAF champion will then qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup in 2013.
FIFA CLUB WORLD CUP
The annual FIFA Club World Cup features continental champions from across the world. The tournament features six continental champions plus a club from the host country. If the top team from the host country is the same as the continental champion, then a continental runner-up will be selected to ensure that no country is represented more than once in the competition. The first match of the competition will then feature the host country club against the OFC (Oceannia) champion. The winner of that match as well as continental champions from CONCACAF, CAF (Africa) and AFC (Asia) will face each other in the next round (single-match elimination), with the match-ups determined by a draw. Two winners will then advance to the semi-final phase to face the continental winners from CONMEBOL (South America) and UEFA (Europe), with again the match-ups pre-determined by a draw. The two semi-final winners then advance to the championship final.
Canada Soccer outlines return to soccer guidelines. The return to soccer guidelines provide member organizations with a five-step process, including a checklist of weighted questions known as the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool.