Waterhouse for Champions League
...Valencia's ineligibility paves way for qualification of CFU trio
WATERHOUSE FC (Jamaica), Puerto Rico Bayamon FC (Puerto Rico) and Alpha United (Guyana) will be the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) representatives at the 2014/2015 CONCACAF Champions League.
The three — winners of their respective groups in the recent CFU Club Championship Cup -- will now advance directly to the CONCACAF tournament, foregoing the planned semi-final stage.
This came about when defending champions, Valencia FC of Haiti, were deemed not to be "an active member" of the governing Haiti Football Federation due to an ongoing dispute that is still to be resolved, even with the intervention of CONCACAF and FIFA.
"While we had an outstanding qualifying round of the tournament, we were excited by the prospects of inviting last year's best Caribbean performer at the CONCACAF Champions League, Valencia FC, to take their predetermined final-four spot when we were informed that the club remains at odds with its national federation.
"A decision of principle, interpretation of the tournament rules, and fiscal prudence were the factors that went into the final decision. With three spots available and three group winners determined, it did not make practical sense to put the teams through further expense... since Valencia could not participate," said CFU general secretary Damien Hughes in a widely circulated statement yesterday.
The head of the CFU secretariat further explained that while the three clubs, who have already qualified from their respective groups as group winners, will advance to the CONCACAF Champions League, their participation is still subject to them meeting "the minimum standards and fulfilling regulatory requirements of participation as mandated by CONCACAF".
"If any of the clubs fail to meet the standards, then Centro Dominguito (Curacao), as the best overall second-place team, will take their place at the CONCACAF Champions League," Hughes continued.
The decision to have the three automatically progressing to the CONCACAF Champions League was taken by the CFU Executive Committee after consultation with CONCACAF officials and the three clubs.
The CFU Club Championship Cup is the CFU's official qualifying tournament for the CONCACAF Champions League from which teams are eligible to qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup.