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Soccer

Why are there two tournaments per season in Mexico and how long do they last?

With just one round of games to go in the regular 2022 Liga MX Apertura season, several clubs are still looking to secure an all important playoff place.

Update:
Erik Lira of Cruz Azul fights for the ball with Cesar Huerta of Pumas during the 15th round match between Pumas UNAM and Cruz Azul
Agustin CuevasGetty

The 2022 Liga MX Apertura is just one step away from closing the regular season phase as matchday 17 will determine which 12 teams will participate in the postseason playoff or repechaje as it’s known in Mexico with the Apertura being one of two competitions played for in domestic top flight Mexican football.

Apertura-Clausura

As of the 1996-97 season, Liga MX is contested over two annual tournaments which see two champions crowned per season. The season opens with the Apertura tournament (opening tournament), running from July to December with this season’s campaign ending earlier due to the World Cup commencing in November. The Clausura tournament (closing), runs from January through to May). 18 teams are currently involved in the Liga MX top flight with this system in place since the mid 90s.

The winners of each tournament go head-to-head in a final called the Campeón 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.

Brayton Vazquez #24 of Atlas FC
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Brayton Vazquez #24 of Atlas FCMike StobeAFP

The top 12 sides advance to the postseason with the top four fast tracked to the quarter final stage with 5th playing 12th, 6th vs 11th, 7th vs 10th and 8th and 9th going head to head.

The four winners advance and play off in a traditional knock-out procedure that will always see the highest team in the regular season enjoy home advantage. The winner is decided after the final game between the two remaining sides. Atlas FC are the current Liga MX Clausura champions having beaten Pachuca in the final with a 2-0 win despite Tigres winning the regular season league.

At present there is no relegation for the bottom placed sides down to Ascenso MX with ongoing debate ensuing amongst the governing body to overthrow this measure and re-introduce promotion-relegation as an incentive to the second tier clubs.