With virtually all international soccer leagues dormant due to the current pandemic, one CONCACAF league has quietly made a major rule change. Liga MX, the Mexican league, has suspended their promotion/relegation rules for a minimum of five years following a video meeting of the 18 club owners yesterday. Since the rest of the world has some form of pro-rel built into their leagues, this aligns Liga MX with the United States’ MLS, who also have shunned the process.
Mexico currently has a dozen teams in their second division, a drop of six clubs in the past few years due to financial conditions. Those twelve teams will receive roughly $845,000 every year from the Mexican federation. In return, the lower division will limit the number of players over the age of 23 to a number yet to be determined and allow those twelve teams to become trainers of younger Mexican players. It is hoped that such players development would provide a supply of talent for the upper division, the international team, or possibly being sold to a European club.
There has been more conformity between Liga MX and the MLS, with both countries competing for the Campeones Cup and Leagues Cup, and an All-Star game between the two leagues set to be played in July. There has been rumors of an eventual integration between the two North American powerhouses, but this is still in its infancy stage. With the MLS announcing on Wednesday the start of a developmental league, the merging of the two leagues would no longer seem to be the talk of conspiracy theorists but rather a possibility in the future.
One more thing to keep in mind. While leagues such as the English Premier League and La Liga in Spain have increased their viewership on American televisions, the league most watched in the United States in Liga MX, surpassing the home-grown MLS by a wide margin. This fact surely isn’t lost on Commissioner Don Garber of MLS and Executive President Enrique Bonilla of Liga MX. Conforming rules changes of the leagues could be seen as an important step in such a merger.