Copa Merconorte

The Copa Merconorte (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkopa meɾkoˈnoɾte]) was an international football competition organized by CONMEBOL from 1998 to 2001 by clubs from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela and starting in 2000 clubs from the CONCACAF confederation were invited including Costa Rica, Mexico, and the United States. The competition ran alongside the Copa Mercosur—based on the actual Mercosur economic pact between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.[1]

Copa Merconorte
Copa merconorte trophy.png
The trophy awarded to champions
Organising bodyCONMEBOL
Abolished2001; 20 years ago (2001)
RegionSouth America
North America
Number of teams16
Related competitionsCopa Mercosur
Most successful club(s)Colombia Atl. Nacional
(2 titles)

Teams did not directly qualify for this competition. Instead, the aim was to generate profits through the television contracts by inviting the most marketable clubs from each country.[2] Therefore, participation was based on invitation of individual clubs.

The competition—along with the Copa Mercosur—was discontinued following the conclusion of 2001. A football competition to be called the Copa Pan-Americana would replace these two competitions for the 2002 season featuring clubs from both CONMEBOL and CONCACAF. The competition was postponed, with plans to be played in 2003. Instead, a CONMEBOL competition was founded dubbed as the Copa Sudamericana in 2002. The Copa Pan-Americana was never organized in the immediate future and leaving the Sudamericana as the successor of the Copa Merconorte and Copa Mercosur.[3]

All four editions were won by a Colombian club. Atlético Nacional won it on two occasions (1998 and 2000). All the finalists in the first three editions were Colombian. In the fourth edition, Emelec became the first and only non-Colombian club to reach the finals of the Copa Merconorte.[1]



Teams did not directly qualify for this competition through their national leagues. Participation was based solely on invitation.[1][2]


The 1998 and 1999 editions were played with twelve teams of the five corresponding CONMEBOL nations. The twelve teams were divided into three groups and each team meets the others in its group home and away in a round-robin format. The group winners and the best runner-up advanced to a semifinal stage. The semifinals were played over two legs and the winners advanced to the finals which were also played over two legs. In 1999, the Bolivian teams played a qualifying playoff before the first phase of Copa Merconorte.

The 2000 and 2001 editions were expanded to sixteen teams and divided into four groups. With the expansion of another group, only the group winners advanced to the semifinals.


The invitations and distribution of berths over the four seasons were as follows.

Association 1998 1999 2000 2001
  Costa Rica
  • No invitations
  • No invitations
  • No invitations
  • No invitations
  • No invitations
  United States
  • No invitations
  • No invitations
  • No invitations


Match decided by a penalty shootout after extra time *
Bold – Indicates the winner in two-legged finals
Year Country Winner Score Runner-up Country Venue Location Refs
1998   COL Atlético Nacional 3–1 Deportivo Cali   COL Atanasio Girardot Medellín, Colombia
  COL Atlético Nacional 1–0 Deportivo Cali   COL Pascual Guerrero Cali, Colombia
Atlético Nacional won 4–1 on aggregate
1999   COL América de Cali 1–2 Santa Fe   COL Pascual Guerrero Cali, Colombia
  COL América de Cali 1–0 Santa Fe   COL Nemesio Camacho Bogotá, Colombia
Tied 2–2 on aggregate; América de Cali won 5–3 on penalties*
2000   COL Atlético Nacional 0–0 Millonarios   COL Nemesio Camacho Bogotá, Colombia
  COL Atlético Nacional 2–1 Millonarios   COL Atanasio Girardot Medellín, Colombia
Atlético Nacional won 2–1 on aggregate
2001   COL Millonarios 1–1 Emelec   ECU Nemesio Camacho Bogotá, Colombia
  COL Millonarios 1–1 Emelec   ECU George Capwell Guayaquil, Ecuador
Tied 2–2 on aggregate; Millonarios won 3–1 on penalties*


By clubEdit

Team Won Runner-up Years won Years runner-up
  Atlético Nacional 2 0 1998, 2000
  Millonarios 1 1 2001 2000
  América de Cali 1 0 1999
  Deportivo Cali 0 1
  Emelec 0 1
  Santa Fe 0 1

By countryEdit

Country Winners Runners-up
  Colombia 4 3
  Ecuador 0 1

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Stokkermans, Karel. "Copa Merconorte". The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 20 June 2013. External link in |work= (help)
  2. ^ a b Stokkermans, Karel. "South America – "Other Copas"". The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 20 June 2013. External link in |work= (help)
  3. ^ Gonzalez, Miguel. "Copa Pan-Americana 2003". The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 20 June 2013. External link in |work= (help)

External linksEdit