The Burrito Wrap - 18th March

Liguilla Tickets

With six weeks of the regular season left, this week’s Burrito Wrap assesses some issues at the top and bottom of the division.


Relegation Battle Spoilt By Rules…


With just six games left to play the relegation battle is going down to the wire. Atlas took a valuable three points off Veracruz on Saturday and Atlante shipped five in the capital. Having now seen a stream of remarkable results over the last few weeks it now looks like it’s going to be one of the tightest battles in recent memory.


So what’s wrong?


There are many perceived issues with the relegation system at it currently stands. Whilst a brief glance north of the border should make Mexican fans be thankful that at least a relegation system exists, it could undoubtedly be improved.


The current system appears to remain in place for one reason – protection of the supposed big teams. Advocates of the system would say that Liga MX lacks the global fanbase of some of the European leagues and thus needs its most commercial ‘brands’ in the top division in order to compete economically and retain interest. Nonetheless, in the purest sporting sense, if the sides aren’t good enough they shouldn’t be protected merely because of their reputation (I won’t mention ownership issues and buyouts).


Imagine how more the exciting the system would be if two or three sides got relegated based on the performance of two seasons – i.e. – from August to May. We would now be looking at the following table going into the final six games:


12. Puebla           29

13. Veracruz       29

14. Monterrey   29

15. Pumas           29

16. Chivas            28

17. Atlante          27

18. Atlas               25


That’s seven sides within four points of each other – far more exciting, tense, and interesting that the current convoluted usage of a points-per-game coefficient.


The Ascenso MX is more than good enough to provide two or three sides per year that are capable of competing in the top division and the rules should be changed.


Championship Battle Spoilt By Rules…


The other end of the table is not necessarily better. When the regular season lasts just seventeen games, I do understand the necessity of some form of post-season, but the current system feels wrong.


Personally, I would scrap the two seasons per calendar year and revert to a standard winner-takes-all 34 game season. However, if we must have a playoff system, why are nearly half of the league included?


Does it not cheapen the regular season? Especially when we get situations such as last year’s Clausura when Monterrey finished ninth and still qualified for the Liguilla, ultimately beating the regular season winners Tigres in the quarter-final. That means a team which lost eight of their seventeen games found themselves two games away from a Championship decider while a team that lost just twice were eliminated.


Obviously this season is very tight, with only four points separating third from twelfth. But what about Cruz Azul and Toluca? Los Cementeros need just four more points to be assured of a playoff berth. How do they stay motivated thereafter? In the Clausura there is no benefit to winning the league beyond the seeding for the Liguilla – at least in the Apertura there are places in the Copa Libertadores to play for.


It’s my belief that one of two things should happen. Either the playoffs should be reduced to include just four sides, or the top eight should keep their points from the regular season and play the other top eight sides one more time each before the top two play a one leg final.


By Daniel Price

To continue the debate you can add a comment below or find me on Twitter by following @MexFooty


** photo is used under a Creative Commons license from esparta 





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