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Gold Cup playoff to decide CONCACAF Confederations berth

A general view of the National Stadium, which is under construction, in Brasilia April 5, 2013. The stadium will be one of the venues for Co
A general view of the National Stadium, which is under construction, in Brasilia April 5, 2013. The stadium will be one of the venues for Co

(Reuters) - CONCACAF's representatives at the 2017 Confederations Cup will be determined by a playoff between the winners of the next two editions of the biennial Gold Cup, the continental soccer governing body said on Friday.

A playoff between the winners of the 12-team tournament ensures both editions of the Gold Cup in each four-year cycle have the same competitive importance, the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) added.

Previously, the winners of the Gold Cup held two years before the Confederations Cup represented the region with 2011 champions Mexico due to play in the 2013 tournament in Brazil.

"This innovative resolution will allow the champion of every single Gold Cup edition to have the same competitive opportunity to represent CONCACAF at the international level," CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb said in a statement on Friday.

The 2013 Gold Cup winners will qualify for a playoff against the 2015 champions later that year at a venue to be determined. If the same nation wins both tournaments they will automatically qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.

The 2013 Gold Cup will be held in 13 cities across the United States from July 7-28, with the final at Chicago's Soldier Field.

Mexico and the U.S. have clashed in the last three Gold Cup finals with the Mexicans winning the last two.

The Confederations Cup, held every four years, features FIFA's six regional champions plus the world champions and host nation of the next World Cup.

It is used as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup finals which are staged the following year.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Ken Ferris)

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