Liga MX, FMF plan big changes before 2026 World Cup

Mexican Soccer Federation president Yon de Luisa and Liga MX counterpart Mikel Arriola unveiled a detailed roadmap and list of proposed changes to Mexican soccer on Tuesday.

The announcement comes at the end of a disappointing year for the men’s and women’s national teams — the low point of which was a group stage exit for El Tri in Qatar.

“What happened to the national teams in 2022 was very serious. Today we meet to announce the new phase of restructuring”, said De Luisa.

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With an eye toward the 2026 World Cup, which Mexico will co-host with the United States and Canada, the two presidents shared details of a recently formed national team committee, a new executive director of national teams in Rodrigo Ares de Parga and one aim to face “high-level” opponents and plan a 2025 summer competition for El Tri’s the top team.

The national team committee — made up of Liga MX club leadership from Chivas, Santos Laguna, Club America, Necaxa, Club Tijuana and the FMF president — will support De Parga in the process of finding a new men’s coach . Since the departure of Gerardo “Tata” Martino shortly after the World Cup group stage exit, Mexico has yet to find a replacement.

“There is no specific date, hopefully it will be soon,” De Luisa said of a possible decision to announce a men’s manager, noting later that there is a possibility that a coach could be appointed this week future, while ruling out the idea of ​​a temporary one. meeting

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At the Liga MX level, Arriola revealed a long list of proposals that have yet to be officially confirmed by the club’s owners, who will meet in May. Although league executives will have to vote on the ideas, Arriola said he has a “great openness” to his plan.

If ratified, either individually or as a complete package, proposals such as returning to just eight playoff invitations instead of 12, reducing the number of foreign players on the roster from eight to seven and creating a new trophy for the results one year old. , could all be in place as early as the 2023-24 season.

Regarding the new trophy, Arriola’s idea is to keep the current format of Liga MX with two seasons and playoffs per year, but with a separate championship won for cumulative points total in the Apertura and Clausura.

Other motions, if approved, may take longer. Arriola wants to bring back promotion and relegation, but also pointed out that only one team from the second division, Leones Negros, has been approved for promotion. In order for promotion to return to Liga MX first, at least four second division teams must be approved. More eligible clubs may be announced by May.

Another idea Arriola wants to tackle is ending the practice of single entities owning multiple clubs within Mexico. However, he did not give a time frame for achieving this goal.

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“What we have to take care of and provide to the assembly [of Mexican clubs] is that it will be an organized process and that it will start, without a doubt, as a process that maximizes the value of the teams”, said the president of Liga MX.

There are currently three property groups that own a majority of six teams: Grupo Pachuca (Pachuca and Leon), Grupo Orlegi (Santos Laguna and Atlas) and Grupo Caliente (Club Tijuana and Queretaro).

According to Arriola, tournaments like the expanded League Cup with MLS and the recent partnership between CONCACAF and CONMEBOL will help increase the club’s perceived value to potential new investors.

The CONMEBOL partnership announced last Friday will feature a Copa America in the United States in 2024, a CONCACAF W Gold Cup women’s South American invitational tournament and a final-four club competition involving two teams of men from each confederation.

When asked if this could also mean a return for Liga MX to the Copa Libertadores in the future, Arriola said “the door is open” to the possibility at the end.

An additional project introduced by Arriola was to assist in the process of sending local players to European clubs. Hoping to avoid the inflated fees that exist in Mexico’s transfer market, the Liga MX president will push for more teams to tie up with European clubs in order to potentially move local talent at a younger age.

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Arriola noted that the league and the FMF will “invest resources” to help with moves abroad, such as encouraging teams whose players move to Europe and helping individuals with the process of obtaining a passport.

“It’s a before and after,” Arriola said of the draft from the FMF and Liga MX. “Everyone has been looking for what was announced today.”

Mexican soccer has lived through a turbulent period that began with the loss of the men’s national team in the Gold Cup final and the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League final in 2021, both in the United States.

After failing to qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the 2023 Men’s U20 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics for both the men’s and women’s teams, the first phase of Mexico’s restructuring began last summer with the sacking of sporting director general Gerardo Torrado, sporty. national team director Ignacio Hierro, women’s national team manager Monica Vergara and U20 men’s coach Luis Perez.

Since then, they have hired Andrea Rodebaugh as the new sporting director for the women’s national teams, Pedro Lopez as the women’s national team coach and Jaime Ordiales as the sporting director for the men’s national teams, in addition to the recent hiring of De Parga as executive director . of national teams.


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