25 Jun 2013

Sport: More changes ahead for Oceania Champions League format

11:14 am on 25 June 2013

The Oceania Champions League football competition has received another shakeup with a change in format for next season that includes the introduction of four new teams.

The group stages will be expanded from eight to twelve teams, with a second club side from Vanuatu, Fiji and Tahiti joining the main competition, along with the winner of the Preliminary stage.

It will mark the first time a club from American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Samoa or Tonga has been granted direct access into the Champions League proper.

Vanuatu's Tafea FC sealed their place in the next O-League campaign after beating Amicale in the national club final earlier this month.

But the new format now means both teams will take part, which Vanuatu Football CEO, Albert Manaroto, says will provide a big boost locally.

"We've had a good following with the O-League and it has contributed to the domestic level of competition also. It is in fact a good thing for Vanuatu to have two teams in the O-League - it just elevates the purpose of football and our programmes and it gives us more focus to attain a higher level of football here."

In other changes, the finals stage of the competition will be played in one country in a tournament format featuring the top four teams.