The previous format featured 2 group stages. The first group stage has been replaced by two KO rounds in the proposed format.
The most important bit (for me) is the seeding criteria. No suprise, FIFA ranking. But CONCACAF intend to use the August 2014 edition, although the matches only start in March 2015. That seems a bit strange. Remember the Panama FA in 2011 published an official protest as they thought the July 2011 ranking would have been the correct seeding criteria. I think they won't protest this time around as they will enter the competition straight in the group stage.
So here's the format.
Dates: 23 & 31 March 2015.
KO round involving the bottom 14 teams (ranked 22 - 35).
Pot 1: St. Kitts and Nevis, Belize, Montserrat, Dominica, Barbados, Bermuda, Nicaragua
Pot 2: Turks and Caicos Islands, Curaçao, US Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla
Dates: 8 & 16 June 2015.
KO round involving teams ranked 9-21 and the 7 Round 1 winners.
Pot 1: Canada, Cuba, Aruba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Suriname, Guatemala, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Grenada
Pot 2: Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, Puerto Rico + 7 winners from Round 1
The official preliminary draw takes places on July 25th, 2015.
Dates: 31 August - 8 September 2015
KO round involving teams ranked 7-8 and the 10 Round 2 winners.
Jamaica, Haiti + 10 winners from Round 2. Jamaica and Haiti will be in Pot 1 with the 4 best ranked winners from Round 2 according to the August 2014 FIFA ranking.
Group stage involving teams ranked 1-6 and the 6 Round 3 winners.
Group stage (3 groups x 4 teams): with Costa Rica, Mexico, USA, Honduras, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, plus 6 winners from Round 3.
Comparing August and September, who will vote against?
- Guatemala, 6th in September, would go straight to the group stage if the September ranking would be used
- Antigua and Barbuda - unseeded in Round 2, would enter the competition in Round 3 as a seeded team
- St. Kitts and Nevis - seeded in Round 1, would enter the competition in Round 2 as a seed
- Curaçao - unseeded in Round 1, would enter as a non-seed in Round 2
- El Salvador - seeded in Round 2, would enter as a seed in Round 3
- Trinidad and Tobago - straight to the group stage with the August ranking, would be seeded in Round 2
- Jamaica and Haiti - Round 3 seeds, would be Round 2 seeds.
- Grenada and Suriname - Round 2 seeds, would be Round 2 non-seeds.
- Guyana and Puerto Rico - non-seeds in Round 2, would enter the competition as Round 1 seeds.
- Nicaragua - would lose Round 1 seed status if the September ranking would be chosen.