The Copa Libertadores de América, commonly known as the Copa Libertadores, is an international tournament organised annually by the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol, the confederation of national football federations of South America, better known as CONMEBOL.
This tournament was created in 1960 under the name Copa de Campeones de América, but in 1965 it changed its name to Copa Libertadores de América in honour of all leaders who fought in the South American wars of independence.
Today, the tournament is one of the most prestigious competitions in South America, with the continent’s top clubs competing. At least four clubs per country compete, with the countries of Brazil and Argentina fielding the most clubs in the tournament. Initially, only the champions of the national leagues of the South American competitions took part, however, after realising the importance of the competition they decided to increase the number of participating clubs in 1966, so that today the runners-up of each league also take part.
This is the distribution of places per country participating in the Copa Libertadores, in addition to the available places per country, the current winner of the Copa Libertadores and the current winner of the Copa Sudamericana should be added, both winning clubs will participate directly in the tournament the year after their triumph.
The winner of this tournament acquires a place to play in the FIFA Club World Cup, the following year’s Recopa Sudamericana against the winner of that year’s Copa Sudamericana and also automatically qualifies to play in the group stage of next year’s Copa Libertadores.
Let’s take an example of which club would play the 2020 Copa Libertadores winner. This club would qualify for:
- FIFA Club World Cup 2020/2021
South American Cup Winners’
- Cup 2021 against the winner of the Copa Sudamericana 2021
- Qualification for the group stage of the Copa Libertadores 2021
The winning club of this competition not only gains prestige and recognition on a football level, but also a financial injection for the club that will allow it to continue improving its staff, facilities and youth training. In addition, all the clubs in the competition receive a financial prize with a value that varies according to their final ranking.
The group draw is made by CONMEBOL at the end of December and the clubs that will provide the structure for the tournament are announced. This is the skeleton structure of the tournament:
- Qualifying phase:
- Phase 1
- Stage 2
- Stage 3
- Group Phase:
- 6 Groups
- Knockout Phase:
- Round of 16