What to know about the significant changes and new format for the Copa Libertadores

The South American equivalent of the Champions League is undergoing some drastic changes. CONMEBOL announced on Tuesday that the Copa Libertadores will now be played from February to November instead of February till the summer as a way to improve the competition's quality as well as the quality of domestic leagues, per Clarin. So often teams have to wrap up the group stage in a short amount of time, which combined with domestic leagues, is tiring for clubs and not ideal.

The tournament, won by Colombian side Atletico Nacional this summer, goes from a 27-week competition to 42 weeks. Also changing is the Copa Sudamericana, which will go from June to December. Adopting a kind of Champions League and Europa League format, 10 teams from the Libertadores that don't make it to the group stage will continue on in the Copa Sudamericana.

Also, Champions of the Copa Liberadores and the Copa Sudamericana will automatically qualify for the next edition of the Libertadores.

Lastly, Mexican teams will no longer be considered 'guests' in the competitions. To date, they've been considered invited guests of CONCACAF, but are now considered to be full-fledged members of the competitions without being a part of CONMEBOL.

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Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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