7 Nov 2018

Sport: OFC Champions League tweaks finals format

12:14 pm on 7 November 2018

The OFC Champions League winners will be crowned on the day with grand final reverting to a "one-off" match in 2019.

Team Wellington won their maiden title in May, defeating Fiji's Lautoka FC 10-4 on aggregate over two legs.

Team Wellington celebrate their first OFC Champions League title.

Team Wellington celebrate their first OFC Champions League title. Photo: OFC via Phototek

New Zealand domestic rivals Auckland City had won the previous seven regional finals between 2011 and 2017 - including three straight against Team Wellington - of which four were held over two legs and three were one-off matches.

The Champions League quarter-finals will now be held on a home-and-away basis, after the four group winners hosted one-off matches in 2018.

Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia were selected to host the Group Stage, in February and March, at a meeting of the OFC Executive Committee in Auckland at the end of October.

"All the Member Associations have an opportunity to indicate their interest in hosting the different competitions OFC has on the annual calendar and for 2019 we had a great response," said OFC Competitions and Events Manager Michael Song.

"The competition department took each expression of interest into consideration, keeping in mind key criteria in order to make recommendations to the Executive Committee and we are pleased that the members were able to support those recommendations."

The 2019 OFC Champions League gets underway at the end of January, with the Cook Islands hosting the Qualifier event for the first time in three years.

Tupapa Maraerenga last qualified for the OFC Champions League main draw in 2001.

Tupapa Maraerenga won the OFC Champions League Qualifier in 2018 to advance to the main draw for the first time since 2001. Photo: Oceania Football Confederation (OFC)