The National, 18th of June, 2013
By HENRY MORABANG
THE premier regional competition, Oceania Champions League, has reverted to old format with all national club champions meeting in one venue.
In a letter dated June 7 to all OFC executive committee members, member associations and participating clubs in the 2014 season, Oceania secretary-general Nicholas Tai announced there was an amendment to the 2014 format.
Tai said the amendments were made by the OFC executive committee meeting on May 30 in Mauritius and the changes were:
l That the format shall maintain a preliminary stage, and finals stage;
l that the preliminary stage shall consist of 4 teams, one group;
l that the preliminary and finals stage shall be played in one country in a tournament format;
l that the finals stage shall consist of 12 teams in 3 groups.
Tai said the OFC secretariat would like to confirm the revised format which includes preliminary stages to be contested by four club champions from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga.
The will play in a round robin league system to take place in Pago Pago, American Samoa in September this year with the winner advancing to advance to join the 12 teams for the 2014 OFC champions League in April, 2014 in Fiji
The teams include the seven club champions of Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, PNG, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu plus the four losing finalists based on the placing of their club representative in the 2013 OFC Champions League season.
As New Zealand finished first and second in 2013 the clubs ranked second to fifth in the overall standings are entitled to a second club team in 2014.
New Zealand, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tahiti will enter the runners-up of their national league.
The new format would see 12 teams placed in three pools.
In Group A: New Zealand 1, Solomon Islands 1, Preliminary Final winner, Tahiti 2; Group B: New Zealand 2, Tahiti 1, Vanuatu 2, Fiji 2; Group C: Vanuatu 1, Fiji 1, New Caledonia 1, PNG 1 (Hekari United FC).