LIGA MX

How do the Liga MX Apertura and Clausura work? When is the Apertura final?

The two competitions use the same format, with all 18 teams playing each other once. The league section is then followed by playoffs.

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How do the Liga MX Apertura and Clausura work? When is the Apertura final?
ULISES RUIZ AFP

The Liga MX season is divided into two league tournaments. The Apertura ('opening') and the Clausura ('closing'). The Apertura winner is about to be decided in Mexico and it takes place between July and December. The Clausura runs from January to May.

Same format for Apertura and Clausura

The two competitions use the same format, with all 18 teams playing each other once. The league section is then followed by playoffs. The top four teams automatically qualify for the playoff quarter-finals. The other four places are then decided through another mini-tournament involving the eight teams that finish between 5th and 12th place in the league.

Two Mexican champions

The Liga MX has an Apertura champion in December and a Clausura champion in May. The winners of each tournament go head-to-head in a final called the Campeon de Campeones in July. Over the course of the two competitions the home team is changed so that every team plays home and away against every other team.

FBL-MEX-TIGRES-LEONTigres fans cheer for their team during the Mexican Apertura 2021 semi-final football match against Leon at Universitario Stadium in Monterrey, Mexico, on December 1, 2021. (Photo by Julio Cesar AGUILAR / AFP)

Who qualifies for the CONCACAF Champions League?

Four Liga MX teams qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League. The winners of the Apertura and the Clausura qualify along with the runners-up. But what happens if the same club wins both tournaments? In order to ensure two teams qualify from the Apertura section and two teams qualify from the Clausura section, Liga MX takes the following approaches:

- If the same two teams play the Apertura and Clausura finals, those teams qualify with the two teams who have the best record in the Apertura and Clausura respectively.

- If the same team wins both the Apertura and the Clausura, facing two different teams in the finals, then the place reserved for the Clausura champions goes to the runners-up, while the place that was reserved for the Clausura runners-up goes to the team with the best Clausura record.

- If the Apertura runners-up wins the Clausura (playing different teams in the finals), then Apertura runners-up spot goes to the non-finalist team with the best Apertura record. The same rule applies if the Apertura champions are Clausura runners-up.

The two tournaments are played from July right through until May of the following year to keep the Liga MX in line with the FIFA calendar.

1357221995*** BESPIX *** LEON, MEXICO - DECEMBER 04: Ángel Mena of Leon celebrates after scoring the first goal of his team during the semifinal second leg match between Leon and Tigres UANL as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX at Leon Stadium on December 04, 2021 in Leon, Mexico. (Photo by Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images)

When is the Liga MX Apertura final?

Club León face Atlas in the final of the current 2021 Apertura season. Atlas' last and only Liga MX title came way back to the 1950/51 season.

The first leg of this year's Apertura final takes place at the home of León on December 9 at 22:00 pm US (ET) / 19:00 pm US (PT) and the second leg in Guadalajara on December 12 at 21:15pm US (ET) / 18:15 US (PT).