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In 1822, Simon Bolivar and the other men that we now call "Liberators" held a meeting about the future of Latin America. Spain controlled nearly all of Latin America, with the exception of Brazil. And of course, Brazil was Portugal's colony because of one of the world's worst treaties of all-time. At that meeting, Bolivar looked to implement what he called "Gran Colombia." Gran Colombia was to be a confederation of Latin American states, much like that in North America known as the United States. His plan, although a good one, did not work out due to the struggle between the other liberators and their desires to rule. Had this confederation been formed, Latin America would presumably be in much better shape, but that just isn't the way it went. Anyway, the Liberators (or Libertadores) were the inspiration for the Copa Libertadores, the South American version of the Champions League.


Well, what does that have to do with anything? Well, it does a lot. You see for centuries now the whole western hemisphere has been neglected not only by the colonizers, but it's own people as well. The only real country that has been successful in economic terms is the United States and that's because we've managed to have only one Civil War whilst most of these countries have fought many a civil war over many different things such as race, money, and political set-up.  One other reason is the fact that the US has run this hemisphere like colonies for a while and neglected many groups of people. Well, I'm here to propose something that will do good for both continents' economies. It is very important that we get these Latin American economies going in these tough times and to make sure that morale is boosted. So how do you do that in those countries? Well, they're really aren't a lot of things that could. But football is one of them.


North America and South America (some say they are one continent, some say there are two) already have separate competitions for club winners and the big names. In South America, the Copa Libertadores allows 11 countries to compete. They give Brazil and Argentina 5 spots each (way too many) and then they give every other country three spots (which is also too much; have you seen Peru's national team?). Then they give Mexico three invitees. That's 38 teams. In North America, the CONCACAF Champions League allows 24 clubs to participate. Mexico and the US get four teams, Canada gets one, Costa Rica and Honduras get three, and El Salvador, Panama, and Guatemala have 2 teams. The Caribbean receives three teams and they must qualify through the CFU Club Championship.


My goal with this blog is to make a competition that is both reasonable and profitable for both continents. So my plan is to do what Bolivar would want: to unite the continents into one for a club competition. Bolivar would want it because it would raise the profile of South America and would also put them into relation with us. So my competition is going to be solely for clubs at first (if it works well, then the international could start and who knows maybe a united continent as one union). My format is simply a model and is very simple for now. I don't have a qualifying round because I just wanted to show the idea of it. So, here's how I got the teams. I used the last FIFA ranking (May) to determine how many teams would get in. The top two get 3 teams. Numbers 3-6 receive 2 teams each. Then numbers 7-20 receive one team each. The Caribbean division will continue to qualify via the CFU Club Championship. But four teams (all of the semi-finalists) will receive a team. This is for last season by the way.  So, here is the new CONChampions League format.


 




Confederation Ranking (Determines # of Teams)


5. Brazil 3 (Sao Paulo -#1 in Serie A, Gremio -#2, Cruzeiro- #3) (1)

7. Argentina 3 (Lanus- Apertura, River Plate- Clausura, Boca Juniors- Total Table) (2)

13. Paraguay 2 (Libertad- Apertura/Clausura, Guarani- Total Table #2) (3)

14. United States 2 (Columbus Crew- MLS Cup, Houston Dynamo- Supporters' Shield) (4)

17. Uruguay 2 (River Plate- Clausura, Defensor Sporting- Apertura) (5)

26. Mexico 2 (Guadalajara- 1st Total Table, Santos Laguna- 2nd in Total Table ) (6)

35. Honduras 1 (Olimpia- Clausura) (7)

37. Chile 1 (Universidad de Chile- Total Table) (8)

41. Costa Rica 1 (Saprissa- Apertura/Clausura) (9)

44. Ecuador 1 (Deportivo Quito- Total Table) (10)

45. Colombia 1 (Boyaca Chico- Total Table) (11)

56. Venezuela 1 (Caracas FC- Total Table) (12)

58. Bolivia 1 (Real Potosi- Apertura) (13)

61. Panama 1 (Orion- Total Table) (14)

83. Canada 1 (Impact de Montreal- Canadian Club Cup) (15)

89. Peru 1 (Universidad San Martin- Total Table) (16)

100. El Salvador 1 (L.A. Firpo- Football League #1) (17)

112. Guatemala 1 (Municipal- Apertura/Clausura) (18)

142. Nicaragua 1 (Real Estali- Primera Division Winner) (19)

177. Belize 1 (Hankook Verdes- Premier League #1) (20)

Caribbean 4 (Puerto Rico Islanders- Puerto Rico, Harbour View FC- Jamaica, Joe Public -Trinidad & Tobago, San Juan Jabloteh- T&T)





That makes 32 teams. From there, teams are put into 8 groups of 4. The top 16 champions are seeded and then the other teams are randomly drawn in with the bigger teams (the teams from Brazil, Argentina, US, Mexico, etc. with extra teams) are thrown in lastly and only one per group to even out the groups to be as fair and as equal as possible. Each team will play 6 matches (home and away to each side). The top two teams from each group will move on to the Round of 16. From there, a draw will take place. First-placed teams will meet second-placed teams. Teams from the same country can not meet until the quarter-finals and teams from the same group can not face one another in the Round of 16. So, here is a sample of the groups. Then I'll just pick two sides from a group to demonstrate the draw system. There will be a re-draw at the quarter-final stage as well.



Group Stage Dates

(Matches to be played on Wednesdays and Thursdays)

Matchday 1: Sep. 9 and 10

Matchday 2: Sep. 23 and 24

Matchday 3: Oct. 14 and 15

Matchday 4: Oct. 28 and 29

Matchday 5: Nov. 18 and 19

Matchday 6: Dec. 2 and 3



Group A

1. Sao Paulo (1)

2. Universidad San Martin (16)

3. San Juan Jabloteh

4. Santos Laguna



Group B

1. River Plate- URU (5)

2. Caracas FC (12)

3. Hankook Verdes

4. Houston Dynamo



Group C

1. Libertad (3)

2. Orion (14)

3. Harbour View FC

4. Boca Juniors




Group D

1. Olimpia (8)

2. Universidad de Chile (9)

3. L.A. Firpo

4. Gremio



Group E

1. Columbus Crew (4)

2. Real Potosi (13)

3. Puerto Rico Islanders

4. Cruzeiro



Group F

1. Guadalajara (6)

2. Boyaca Chico (11)

3. Real Estali

4. Nacional



Group G

1. Saprissa (7)

2. Deportivo Quito (10)

3. Municipal

4. River Plate- ARG



Group H

1. Lanus (2)

2. Impact de Montreal (15)

3. Joe Public

4. Defensor Sporting





Knockout Rounds


Draw


First- Placed Teams


Sao Paulo

Santos Laguna

River Plate-URU

Houston Dynamo

Boca Juniors

Libertad

Gremio

Olimpia

 

Second-Placed Teams

 

Cruzeiro

Columbus Crew

Guadalajara

Nacional

River Plate-ARG

Saprissa

Lanus

Defensor Sporting











Feb. 10 and 11 (First Leg), Feb. 24 and 25 (Second Leg)


Round of 16 (2-Legged Aggregate Scoring; Away Goals Rule applies)




Sao Paulo

Defensor Sporting



Lanus

Saprissa



Boca Juniors

Columbus Crew



Gremio

Olimpia



River Plate- URU

Libertad



Guadalajara

Houston Dynamo



Cruzeiro

Nacional



River Plate- ARG

Santos Laguna



March 10 and 11 (First Leg), March 24 and 25 (Second Leg)


Quarter-Finals (2-Legged Aggregate Scoring; Away Goals Rule applies)



River Plate- ARG

Guadalajara



Libertad

Boca Juniors



Cruzeiro

Gremio



Sao Paulo

Saprissa



April 7 and 8 (First Leg), April 21 and 22 (Second Leg)


Semi-Finals (2-Legged Aggregate Scoring; Away Goals Rule applies)



Guadalajara

Boca Juniors



Cruzeiro

Saprissa



May 15 (Saturday)


Final (1-Leg Final to be held at Maracana)



Boca Juniors (Winner)

Saprissa




This was just me picking random teams in order to show you what it'd be like. Boca Juniors would qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup as the best team for CONMEBOL and Saprissa would represent CONCACAF. For the first 8 seasons at least, the tourney will be hosted by the four more developed nations in the western hemisphere. Brazil will host the first season and so on. Here is the host rotation:







Host Rotation: First Eight Years


1. Brazil: Estadio do Maracana (88,992)

2. Argentina: Estadio Monumental Antonio V. Liberti (65,645)

3. United States: Rose Bowl (92, 542)

4. Mexico: Estadio Azteca (115,000)

5. Mexico: Estadio Internacional Monterrey (75,000+)

6. United States: Reliant Stadium (71,500)

7. Argentina: Estadio Juan Domingo Peron (64,161)

8. Brazil: Estadio do Morumbi (73,501)



It is important to have these countries host initially because they are more developed and it will give the other countries time to build up infrastructure to do so. After 8 years, bidding for the final would begin.




This plan has a huge affect on everyone involved. Each country will receive money for agreeing to it and each club will receive a bonus for making the tourney. The winner will receive 5 million dollars, which would help boost all of these teams. Eventually, the tourney will grow big enough that the TV rights will help produce even more money in each country. All of this and we haven't mentioned travel. When the tourney grows large enough, people are going to fill the stadiums and travel to see their teams play. The extra money will help increase security and encourage even more travel, which will be good for the local community of any team. All of the groups involved will receive something out of this.


Argentina and Brazil (the likely stoppers of the plan) would likely receive recognition as the best of the best and would also pump money into the economy. The other South American countries would receive the economic help that they desperately need and deserve. The Central American countries would also benefit the same way as South America would. The North American countries (Mexico, US, Canada) will improve their football and a little of the economy. The Caribbean region will receive even more visitors and will be given a chance to improve upon its club level through this competition. If they can start to add more decent clubs in the Caribbean, then they can produce better national teams and further their national exposure. It would also lead to the west hemisphere's teams to become that much better and to keep talent within their own borders even more. In 10 years time, this system would also start to draw in European footballers. Especially the fringe-type guys like a Djibril Cisse. Given a few more years, the top footballers would potentially want to come over to whomever the big-name team is at that time. It would take a while for this to happen, but it definitely would start to happen a little. Not every European star would come, but you would see your fair share of guys. Who would become the Brazil and Argentina of Europe? Only time would tell.




With that, I would like to say thanks and I really hope that you liked it. It's been Keeper and I'm out.  To go to this article on SoccerNation, click here.










 
July 13, 2012  05:29 PM ET

sounds fantastic to me. really wish US soccer would boom and become really popular

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