Liga MX, FMF plan big changes before 2026 World Cup

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

The announcement comes ahead of a disappointing year for both the men’s and women’s national teams – the lowest point of which was a group stage exit. El Tri In line.

“What has happened to the national teams in 2022 is very serious. Today we are coming together to announce a new phase of restructuring,” De Luisa said.

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With an eye on the 2026 World Cup, which Mexico will co-host with the United States and Canada, the two presidents said the recently formed national team committee, the new executive director of national teams in Rodrigo Ares de Parga, and aimed to face “high-level” competition in the summer of 2025. plan El Tri’s senior squad.

A national team committee consisting of Chivas, Santos Laguna, Club America, Necasa, Club Tijuana and the president of the FMF Liga MX club will support De Parga in the process of finding a new men’s coach. After Gerardo “Tata” Martino’s departure immediately following their World Cup group stage exit, Mexico have yet to replace them.

“There is no specific date, we hope it will be soon,” De Luisa said of a possible decision to announce the men’s manager, later ruling out the interim game, noting that a coach could be named next week. appointment.

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At Liga MX level, Arriola revealed a long list of offers that have yet to be officially confirmed by the club’s owners, who will meet in May. Although league leaders must vote on the ideas, Arriola insisted there is “great transparency” in his plan.

If ratified, either separately or as a complete package, the proposals include calling for only eight playoffs instead of 12, reducing the number of foreign players on a roster from eight to seven, and creating a new trophy for one-year results. , all likely to be in place for the 2023-24 season.

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

Other proposals, if approved, may take longer. Arriola pointed out that promotion and relegation will come, but also that only one second division team, Leones Negros, is approved to be eligible for promotion. A minimum of four teams from the second division must be approved for promotion to Liga MX for the first time. More eligible clubs may be announced by May.

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Another idea that Arriola wants to tackle is to end the practice of sole proprietorships owning multiple clubs in Mexico. However, he did not give a deadline for achieving this goal.

“What we have to take care of and convince the Assembly [of Mexican clubs] It will be an organized process and it will certainly start as a process that increases the value of the teams,” said the president of Liga MX.

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

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

The CONMEBOL partnership, announced last Friday, will see the 2024 Copa America in the United States, the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup at South America’s invitational, and a “last four” club competition featuring two men’s teams from each confederation.

When asked if this could mean the return of the Liga MX trophy to the Copa Libertadores in the future, Arriola said “the door is open”.

A side project proposed by Arriola helped in the process of sending domestic players to European clubs. Hoping to avoid inflated fees in Mexico’s transfer market, the Liga MX president is pushing for more teams with ties to European clubs to sign homegrown talent at a young age.

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Arriola noted that the league and FMF are also “putting resources” into helping individuals move abroad, such as incentivizing teams whose players move to Europe and helping individuals with the passport process.

“It’s a before and after,” Arriola said of the FMF and Liga MX circuit. Everyone was asking how it was announced today,” he said.

Mexican soccer has lived through a tumultuous period that began with the senior men’s national team losing to the United States in the Gold Cup final and the first CONCACAF Nations League final in 2021.

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

They have since appointed Andrea Rodebao as the new women’s sporting director, Pedro López as the women’s team coach and Jaime Ordiales as the men’s national team sporting director, as well as the recent hiring of De Parga as executive director. of national teams.


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