CONMEBOL to change Copa Sudamericana format in 2021

The number of teams participating in South American club competition Copa Sudamericana will increase from 44 to 56 from 2021 onwards.

Copa Sudamericana this year is due to restart in October following a hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.   -  Getty Images

South America's second-most prestigious club tournament will change format next year to introduce a group phase and increase the number of participants from 44 to 56, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) said on Friday.

The Copa Sudamericana, the equivalent of the Europa League, will have a qualifying round followed by eight groups of four teams.

The change is designed to ensure that each of CONMEBOL's 10 member nations will have at least one team in the group stage.

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“It will be more competitive and more representative,” the organization said in a statement announcing the changes.

Currently, the Copa Sudamericana is played on a knock-out basis.

This year's tournament is due to restart later this month following a hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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