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Yon de Luisa and Mikel Arriola announce new changes to Mexican soccer

Mexican Football Federation president Yon de Luisa and Liga MX president Mikel Arriola revealed several new changes coming to Mexican soccer. 

The announcement comes after a disappointing 2022 campaign for the both the men’s and women’s national teams, that saw a group stage exit for El Tri in Qatar and a failed attempt by El Tri Femenil to qualify to the 2023 World Cup.  

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

Yon de Luisa and the FMF addressed the restructure of national team management by creating a new committee led by recently appointed executive director Rodrigo Ares de Parga. The group, made up of Liga MX club leadership from Santos Laguna, Club America, Necaxa, Club Tijuana, Chivas and the FMF president, will support De Parga in strengthening the men’s and women’s team. 

The newly formed committee will specifically be in charge of finding a new men’s coach to succeed Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, who made an immediate departure after the group stage exit, and scheduling competition with “high-level” opponents to substitute the lack of World Cup qualifiers. 

“There is no specific date, we hope it’ll be soon,” de Luisa said about a possible decision to announce a men’s manager, before later revealing the possibility of an interim appointment.

For Liga MX, Arriola took over to present a long list of proposals that will be discussed by club owners in May. Though league leaders still need to vote, Arriola insisted there is “great openness” to the plan. 

The proposed changes include the elimination of a wild card playoff round, that would see eight teams participate in the postseason competition instead of 12, decreasing the amount of foreign players per roster from eight to seven, and the establishment of a new trophy for year-long results. 

If approved, the ideas could be implemented by the 2023 Liga MX Apertura. 

Arriola also discussed the return of promotion and relegation between Liga MX and Liga de Expansion, but the reintroduction of the format would require more time. At the moment, only one second division team, Leones Negros, is approved as ‘eligible for promotion,’ and a minimum of four clubs is needed for the system to function. 

More eligible clubs could be announced by May.

Lastly, Arriola introduced the idea of ending single entities owning multiple clubs within Mexico. He did not provide a timeline for reaching that goal. 

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

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

“This is a before and after. Everyone has been asking for what was announced today,” concluded Arriola. 

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