Gold Cup 2000 expanded to twelve teams

Date Published: 

The first CONCACAF Gold Cup of the new millennium will be played in the United States in February 2000 and will be increased to 12 teams, it was announced by CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer today. The 12 competitors will consist of nine CONCACAF nations and three invited guests; an overall increase of two teams from the recent highly successful Gold Cup when the sole invited guest was Brazil. "The 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup established itself as a major international tournament," said CONCACAF President Jack Warner, "and the early decisions we are now making will ensure that 2000 is yet another vital marker in the progress of this Confederation." It is expected that the guest nations will be the co-hosts of the 2002 World Cup, Japan and South Korea, with the traditional invitation to a South American country going to Colombia. "Mexico, as Gold Cup champions, and the USA, as the venue nation, will qualify automatically," said Mr Blazer. "All other CONCACAF nations must go through strenuous qualifying stages." The UNCAF Cup, Central America's principal competition, will provide its top three countries to the Gold Cup. From the Caribbean, the Shell Caribbean Cup winners of 1998 and 1999 will qualify. The final two places will come from a qualifying group of the fourth-placed UNCAF country, the two Shell Caribbean Cup runners-up and Canada. This group will play a Wednesday-through-Sunday round robin tournament in a site to be determined. Sites within the USA for the Gold Cup itself have also to be decided. There will be four groups of three teams each with the top two qualifying for the quarterfinals.