What is CONCACAF?
CONCACAF is an acronym for the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football. The governing body was formed in 1961 to administer the men’s and women’s tournaments in the region.
CONCACAF History and Origin
There were two competitions held in the region prior to 1963. The association football was separated into two bodies, the North American Football Confederation and the Football Confederation of Central America and the Caribbean.
The CCCF was founded in 1938 and the NAFC in 1946. Both confederations organized their own competitions. Costa Rica was prosperous in the CCCF Championships while Mexico won the NAFC Championship honors.
Both tournaments, NAFC and CCCF combined forming the CONCACAF. The confederation is one of the six continental zones that are associates of FIFA. Mexico and the United states have taken turns in dominating the men’s competition in the region with other nations, like Costa Rica, recently showing great promise. The first President of CONCACAF was Costa Rican Ramón Coll Jaumet overseen the merger between the NAFC and the CCCF. He was succeeded by Joaquín Soria Terrazas from Mexico in 1969.
CONCACAF Roles and Responsibilities
The key role the organization plays is to run soccer competitions among the member associations. It organizes competitions among clubs and national teams and conducts the World Cup Qualifying Tournament. CONCACAF offers technical courses as well as administrative training courses. It is also in the frontline of the development and promotion of the sport particularly in the region.
The major tournaments run by CONCACAF are The Gold Cup (contested by national teams) and the clubs’ Champions League. Other competitions it oversees are the Olympic qualifiers and the under-15, under-17 and under-20 men and women championships. It coordinates with FIFA to run the World cup qualifications (including the Women’s tournament), the Futsal and the Beach Soccer World Cups.
Organization of CONCACAF
The administrative headquarters are situated in New York City. The body is structured into the Congress, the Executive Committee, the General Secretariat and other committees. The Congress elects the CONCACAF representatives and members of the Executive Committee. It is charged with admission and expulsion of members and unravels any other matters presented by the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee is comprised of seven members; the President, three Vice Presidents (each representing one of the zones) and three members. The organ is responsible of managing CONCACAF, resolving conflicts, designating the venues of various competitions, and ensuring that the statutes set by the Congress are observed. Currently, Jeffrey Webb is the president and has been in office since 2012.
Then there is the General Secretariat which is led by the Secretary General. The role of the Secretariat is to administer the CONCACAF functions and manage its properties. It is also tasked with managing the financial matters and appointing personnel to the secretariat.
Top Clubs in CONCACAF
CONCACAF holds a club championship annually called the CONCACAF Champions League. The winner of the tournament qualifies for the Club World Cup. CONCACAF Champions League was introduced in 1962 and has seen 28 different clubs winning the title.
Mexico has shown its supremacy in the tournaments held in the region as the clubs from the nation stand out as the most successful. Eleven different clubs from Mexico have won a total of 30 titles. Cruz Azul is one of the clubs and leads as the top club in the competition having taken six titles. It is the current title holder and one of the clubs to successfully defend the title, together with Pachuca and Monterrey. Next on the list of the top title holders are Mexico clubs America and Pachuca with five and four titles respectively.
The Mexican teams have further dominated after the current format was introduced in 2008 taking all the six titles. Monterrey has led in the recent format with three consecutive titles, from 2011 to 2013. Costa Rican clubs have accumulated six titles and El Salvador comes in third with three wins since.
CONCACAF Country Members
41 nations constitute the CONCACAF, three from North America, seven from Central America, twenty-eight Caribbean entities and three South American countries namely Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. For a while, the number of members has stood at 40 until Bonaire was recently recognized as a full member in June 2014.
Ten nations from the CONCACAF have taken part in the World Cup since its inauguration though none has won the title. Actually, the best performance has been playing in the semifinals. Those countries that stand out in terms of qualification are Mexico (qualified 15 times), U.S. (qualified 10 times) and Costa Rica (4 times).