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Mexican League Format Sees Radical Change

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Starting from the Apertura 2011, Mexican football will scrap the three group regular season system in which the top two teams in each group and next two overall finishers qualify for the playoffs.

In its place will be a general table from which the top eight teams will qualify for the next round.

In the final stages, the Liguilla knockout competition is no longer. Instead, the eight teams will be split into two mini-leagues.  Each club will play the other teams in their four-team group twice, once at home and once away against each opponent.

After each team has played six games in the round robin competition, the top teams out of each sector would then qualify for the grand final. It is a somewhat similar system to that which FIFA operates in the World Cup.

The changes mean more teams will be involved deeper into the season. The new format will also increase the total number of postseason games (from 14 to 26). TV revenues, threatened by Carlos Slim's highly publicized battle with Televisa, will be given a welcome boost.

"These changes have been made with the objective of creating a more exciting league," Decio de Maria, General Secretary of the Mexican Football Federation, told the press. "We will continue evaluating more changes that can nourish our football."

This playoff format was previously used in Mexico five times--during the postseasons of 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1989.