- 12 Member Associations competing for three spots in the Group Stage
- The Prelims are scheduled to be played July 2-6 using a direct elimination format
- The knockout format from the Preliminary Round will see three teams qualify for the 16-team Gold Cup Group Stage
MIAMI, Florida – Concacaf revealed a new format for qualification to the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup and the introduction of a first ever Draw to determine the groups and knockout stage setup.
New to the process of Gold Cup qualification is a Preliminary Round (Prelims) that will include 12 Member Associations competing for three spots in the Group Stage.
Also, for the first time ever, there will be a Draw to determine the Gold Cup Group Stage. The Gold Cup Draw is scheduled for September 28, 2020 in which the Prelims and Group Stage will be drawn.
The Prelims are scheduled to be played July 2-6 using a direct elimination format in a centralized location in the United States.
Based on their performances in the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League, 12 teams will compete in the Preliminary Round: Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cuba, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Montserrat, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.
Bahamas, Barbados, Guadeloupe and Guatemala qualified for the Preliminary Round as group winners from League C; French Guiana, Guyana, Montserrat and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines qualified as the second-place teams from their respective groups in League B, while Bermuda, Cuba, Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago qualified as the third-place finishers in League A.
The knockout format from the Preliminary Round will see three teams qualify for the 16-team Gold Cup Group Stage, where they will join the 12 teams that have already qualified for the Gold Cup: Canada, Costa Rica, Curacao, El Salvador, Grenada, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Suriname and the United States.
Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and United States qualified as group winners from League A, Canada, Curacao, Martinique and Panama qualified as the second-place teams from League A, while El Salvador, Grenada, Jamaica and Suriname qualified as group winners from League B.
The three teams qualified from the Preliminary Round and the 12 teams already qualified for the Gold Cup will be joined in the Group Stage by AFC Asian Cup Champions Qatar, who will compete as a guest as part of a major collaboration between Concacaf and the host country of the FIFA World Cup 2022™.
Upon the completion of the Gold Cup Group Stage, eight teams will advance to a newly formatted Knockout Phase in which teams on opposite sides of the bracket will meet from the Quarterfinals onwards.
This is a change from previous Gold Cup tournaments when team only competed against opponents on the same side of the bracket until the Final.