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What changes will be made to Liga MX from Apertura 2023 onwards?

The Mexican Soccer Federation have confirmed changes to Liga MX with a view to helping the Mexican national team.

Mauricio Torres
Mauricio Torres
The Mexican Soccer Federation have confirmed changes to Liga MX with a view to helping the Mexican national team.
Tomas Regueiro

Following the Mexican national team’s disappointing performace at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, the Mexican Soccer Federation (FMF) have announced changes to Liga MX in an attempt to help El Tri best prepare for the 2026 World Cup, with Mexico one of the tournament’s three hosts.

When will the Liga MX changes come into effect?

Federation president Yon de Luisa announced in a press conference that the ‘repechaje’ playoffs will be eliminated, a full-season tournament will complement the two half-season ones, clubs will be able to register seven foreign players rather than eight and promotion to and relegation from Liga MX could return.

All changes will come into effect in time for the Apertura 2023.

What is the Liga MX ‘repechaje’?

Teams finishing between fifth and 12th in the regular season qualified for the ‘repechaje’ (’reclassification’) playoffs, with the eight clubs playing off against one other, leaving four to progress to play the ‘liguilla’ quarter-finals against the top four clubs. In the new system, the top four will qualify directly for the ‘liguilla’ semi-finals.

A season-long tournament will complement the two short ones that finish with the ‘liguilla’,” explained de Luisa. “Clubs will start the second tournament of the year on the number of points they finished the first one with.” Promotion from and relegation to Liga Expansíon MX looks likely to return after being stopped in 2020, although a final decision will be made in May.

Role changes related to the Mexican national teams

In addition, Rodrigo Ares de Parga was confirmed as the General Manager of the different Mexican national teams, while the national team committee will be made up of Emilio Azcárraga, Amaury Vergara, Jorge Alberto Hank, Alejandro Irarragorri and Ernesto Tinajero. Jaime Ordiales will continue as Sporting Director in the men’s section, with Andrea Rodebaugh in charge in the women’s.

Marcelo Bielsa, una nueva opción para Estados Unidos en el proceso al 2026
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Marcelo Bielsa is one of the men in contention to become next Mexico manager. Robbie Jay Barratt - AMAGetty Images

Why is promotion and relegation returning to Liga MX?

One of Liga MX president Mikel Arriola’s objectives is to ensure that the Liga MX Expansión - the second tier in Mexico - is a breeding ground for the best young players in Mexican soccer and enables them to gain the experience required to then make the step up to the to tier. Mexican clubs are also being encouraged to form partnerships with their European counterparts which would see more players make the move across the Atlantic, with a view to helping them improve their game.

Who is in contention to become the new Mexico head coach?

The identity of the next head coach of the Mexican national team remains unknown, although Marcelo Bielsa, Guillermo Almada and Miguel Herrera are the main contenders to take the job. El Tri will return to action in March in the Concacaf Nations League before turning their attention to the Gold Cup in the summer.