Commentary

Pro/Rel may be eliminated in Mexico

The Mexican league is proposing to eliminate promotion-relegation for a four-year period, citing that most Ascenso MX clubs do not meet Liga MX requirements.

As it is, promotion to the 18-team Liga MX is already one of the most challenging quests compared to leagues around the world. Only one team from the second division Ascenso MX moves up each year. The winner of a two-leg promotion final between the Ascenso MX's Apertura and Clausura tournaments replaces the Liga MX team with the poorest points-to-games ratio over the previous three years.

Here's how promotion relegation works in some other leagues around the world:

ENGLAND: The bottom three clubs of the 20-team English Premier League drop, and are replaced by the second division EFL Championship winner, runner-up, and victor of a playoff series between teams finishing third through sixth. (SPAIN uses the same system.)

GERMANY: In the 18-team Bundesliga, the bottom two finishers are replaced by the second division's top two finishers. The 16th-place finisher plays a two-leg promotion-relegation series against the second division's third-place finisher. (FRANCE uses the same system). The Bundesliga introduced the playoff in 2008, before which the the bottom three finishers dropped automatically.

Pro/Rel: The case for and against -- By Paul Kennedy

Liga MX introduced the Tabla de Cociente -- the points per game system -- in 1993, which prevents the major clubs from getting relegated because of one poor season. The newly promoted club is at a disadvantage because its quotient is based on just one year of play.

Mexican club owners have also coped with relegation by buying another Liga MX club, as Queretaro did in 2013 when it bought Jaguares de Chiapas, renamed it and moved it to Queretaro.

Now Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla announced that the league is considering putting promotion-relegation on hold for four years beginning in 2019. The reason given is that of the 16 Ascenso MX teams, only six meet Liga MX stadium, training facility and youth program requirements.

"That would kill the essence of soccer for the 16 Ascenso MX teams seeking to reach the Liga MX," said Alberto Marrero, the president of San Luis, one of the Ascenso MX clubs that does meet the requirements.

Liga MX games average 26,000 in attendance while Ascenso MX games average only 6,500. One can imagine why the Liga MX clubs would like to see the end of relegation. And that a Pro/Rel hiatus is really just a step toward Pro/Rel elimination. Because how would a four-year break without the promise of promotion help inspire second division clubs to invest in its facilities?

1 comment about "Pro/Rel may be eliminated in Mexico".
  1. R2 Dad, February 7, 2018 at 9:10 p.m.

    Knowing how much of a gap there is between wealth and poverty in Mexico, it's a wonder Liga MX ever allowed pro/rel in the first place. The devil is always in the details. There is nothing magical about pro/rel without processes in place that facilitate the transfer from Ascenso to Liga MX and visa versa. The English Premier League recently increased parachute payments to relegated teams that had struggled with the transition. In the case of Mexico, maybe an increase in payments to promoted clubs in order to improve their facilities might strengthen pro/rel.

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