Newly minted Inter Miami Stadium to host Gold Cup preliminary roundFriday, April 09, 2021
The preliminary round of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup will be played inside the spanking new Inter Miami CF Stadium in South Florida July 2-6, Concacaf announced yesterday.
This will serve as the official start to the Gold Cup and is a key part of what “is sure to be a vibrant summer of football in the region”, which will include the Concacaf Nations League Finals in June and the Concacaf Gold Cup in July/August.
For 2021, Concacaf's flagship competition will, for the first time, include the preliminary knockout tournament where 12 nations will compete for three spots to complete the Gold Cup group stage to be contested by 16 member associations.
The 12 nations participating in the preliminary round qualified by virtue of their creditable Concacaf Nations League performances.
“We look forward with great anticipation to this summer's Gold Cup, which will undoubtedly be enhanced by this new preliminary round,” said Concacaf President Victor Montagliani.
“The past year has been very challenging in our region and our thoughts are with all the communities that have suffered. We hope the opportunity to watch the best men's national teams in Concacaf compete in our flagship tournament can provide fans with some hope and enjoyment,” said the Canadian businessman.
“All 12 of the competing nations in the prelims will get a full Gold Cup experience at the excellent Inter Miami facilities and we look forward to a great set of games,” added Montagliani, who is also a Fifa vice-president.
Inter Miami CF Managing Owner Jorge Mas welcomed the hosting of the ground-breaking preliminary round competition of the confederation's marquee tournament, the Gold Cup.
“We look forward to hosting the Gold Cup Prelims tournament in our stadium. Our facilities in Fort Lauderdale were built with the intent of giving our fans opportunities to enjoy the world's game knowing that our vibrant culture and sports-centric region would be attractive for global teams and competitions. This is just the beginning of the great things that lie ahead,” he was quoted in a widely-circulated press release yesterday.
Inter Miami CF Stadium, a brand-new football-specific stadium inaugurated just last year, includes an 18,000-capacity stadium sitting adjacent to a 50,000-square-foot training centre with seven fields spanning 34 acres and will allow for teams to play matches and train in one location.
In the 12-team preliminary play-offs, Haiti will face St Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala will take on Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago will go up against Montserrat, Cuba will cross swords with French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Bahamas will do battle, while Bermuda will tackle Barbados.
The six round-one winners will qualify for the second round, and the winning nation in each of the three matchups will advance to the group stage of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, where they were drawn into groups A, B and C.
Group A will be contested by Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao, and the winner of preliminary matchup nine; the USA, Canada, Martinique, and winner of preliminary matchup seven will contest Group B; Group C will see Costa Rica, Jamaica, Suriname, and winner of preliminary matchup eight gunning for top honours, while Group D will see Honduras, Panama, Grenada, and guest team Qatar doing business.
In their press release, Concacaf promise to, in due course, announce ticket sales information for the preliminary round and local and federal protocols related to the coronavirus pandemic, which will need to be observed by attending fans. This will include a requirement to adhere to state health guidelines and any Concacaf or venue protocols and regulations.
Gold Cup group stage, meantime, will kick off on July 10 and run through August 1.
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