Liga MX mandates minutes for young Mexicans

Mexico's top-flight league has brought back a rule forcing clubs to give young domestic talent playing time -- something that MLS has contemplated but not taken action on.

From 2005 to 2011, Liga MX's Regla 20/11 mandated that clubs give at least 1,000 minutes of action to players under the age of 20 years and 11 months during a season -- Liga MX plays two seasons, Apertura and Clausura, per year -- and it was credited with boosting the development of stars such as Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Andres Guardado, and a generation that included Hector Moreno of the 2005 U-17 World Cup-winning team and gold medalists at the 2012 Olympics who included Diego Reyes and Héctor Herrera.

Regla 20/11 coincided with the Mexican federation requiring pro clubs to invest in youth programs and launching national U-17 and U-20 leagues for Liga MX clubs. Regla 20/11 was dropped in 2011 when it was considered no longer necessary because, as Pachuca’s Sporting Director Marco Garces put it in 2012, "It’s not needed anymore. The clubs are using youngsters all the time. It was important to make us see you don’t lose quality.”

However, recent seasons have seen a sharp drop in young Mexicans breaking into first-team lineups as Mexican clubs, many owned by rich corporations, rely heavily on experienced foreign talent.

Liga MX's new rule on fielding young Mexican players stipulates that:

For the Torneo Apertura 2018, which kicks off in late July, each club must give 765 minutes of playing time to players born in 1997 or later.

For the Torneo Clausura 2019, it's 1,000 minutes for players born in 1998 or younger -- but with 1997s being able to contribute 50 percent of those minutes.

In the next Copa MX, clubs must give players born in 1998 or later 180 minutes per game.

In 2012, MLS Commissioner Don Garber was asked if MLS considered a similar rule:

“We’ve done a lot of research on it. We’re certainly mindful of the success Mexico has had. We’re not sure if that success was driven by the mandatory rule as much as it’s driven by just a massive commitment by the league working in partnership with the federation down there."

Although MLS has mandated clubs invest in youth programs, it has yet to require first-team playing time for homegrown players. Both of the last two U.S. national team coaches, Bruce Arena and Jurgen Klinsmann, complained that MLS clubs have not been giving sufficient opportunities to young Americans.

1 comment about "Liga MX mandates minutes for young Mexicans".
  1. Ben Myers, May 25, 2018 at 12:47 p.m.

    Hey, Garber!  You listening?   Again?   And Again?

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