Liga MX restart: 'Health is not being taken into account'

After a four-month break, forcing the cancellation of the remainder of its 2020 Torneo Clausura championship, Mexico's Liga MX was supposed to resume on Thursday with the first game of the 2020 Torneo Apertura.

But Mexican clubs have struggled with Covid-19 outbreaks, and it's already impacted the new campaign, dubbed the Torneo Guard1anes 2020:

-- Ten positive results at FC Juarez forced the postponement of Thursday opener between Atletico San Luis and Los Bravos;
-- Mazatlan FC's first game in the coastal city since its move from Morelia was postponed when Friday's game against Puebla was moved to Monday because it was awaiting the results of its latest Covid-19 tests.

Clubs have been testing players on their men's and women's teams, as well as their Fuerzas Basicas youth teams, and their staffs. Guadalajara coach Luis Fernando Tena is among those in quarantine.

Cruz Azul announced on Wednesday that two players tested positive in tests taken last Friday but it will go ahead with its game on Saturday against Santos.

Early in July, Cruz Azul had more than 20 members of its men's and women's team quarantined, but it still played in the Copa por Mexico, which it won, beating Chivas, 2-1, in Sunday's final. Cruz Azul coach Robert Siboldi says financial considerations are dictating the restart.

"If the tournament starts this weekend," the Uruguayan said on Thursday, "it's clearly for final reasons because health is not being taken into account. If we take into account the Covid-19 cases and deaths, it would be impossible for the tournament to start."

Siboldi said the league shouldn't restart but he understands the financial pressure to begin playing again.

"I am also convinced that if we are more disciplined," he added, "we can minimize infections, if not eradicate them. We are ready to start the tournament, but the decision is not ours, it is the league's, and I am sure that what they decide will be for the good of all."

All nine games on Matchday 1 are still slated to be completed by Monday, but they will be played without fans.

The Mexican newspaper Universal recently examined the impact of the loss of ticket sales around the league. A team like Cruz Azul brings in only about $7.5 million in ticket revenues over the course of a full season -- Apertura and Clausura -- but top-drawing teams like Monterrey and Tigres will lose more than $30 million each if they have to play behind closed doors.
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