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CONCACAF recently announced the official launch of its new continental club championship, the CONCACAF Champions League, which will start in August 2008 to replace the Champions Cup. The new competition will feature four teams from Mexico and the USA, three Caribbean sides, two clubs from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama, and one team from Canada, Belize and Nicaragua. Eight clubs (two Mexican, two American and one from Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) will be seeded to receive a bye to the first round, with the other 16 teams competing in eight home-and-away ties from 26 to 28 August and from 2 to 4 September. The winners of these eight matches will join the eight seeded teams in the group stage that will consist of four groups of four teams that will play each other in a round-robin system over six match days (three home games, three away games) from 16 September to 30 October. The top two clubs in each group will advance to the knockout phase. The quarter-finals will get underway in February 2009, with the semi-finals following in March before the final in late April. The Champions League winner will qualify as CONCACAF’s representative at the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup.
The Barbados Football Association (BFA) held their annual awards ceremony at Almond Bay on 3 February. BFA President Ronald Jones, who is also Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, announced that local football would receive multi-million dollar investment following the conclusion of a contract with a major agency. The plan calls for the island to have its own professional league within the next two years. Also present were FIFA Vice-President and CONCACAF President Jack Warner, Barbados’ Minister of Family, Youth Affairs, Sports and the Environment Esther Byer-Suckoo, Permanent Secretary Lionel Weekes, BFA officials, dub representatives, award recipients and players.