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FMF Goes Back To Old Liguilla Format, Scraps Youth Rule

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DENVER, CO - JUNE 01:  Fans of Mexico celebrate as Mexico defeated New Zealand in their international friendly at INVESCO Field at Mile High on June 1, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JUNE 01: Fans of Mexico celebrate as Mexico defeated New Zealand in their international friendly at INVESCO Field at Mile High on June 1, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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A couple of weeks ago, we reported that the FMF and its owners had decided on an entirely new Liguilla format. That proposed format had eight teams qualifying for Liguilla, splitting up into two groups of four who would play in a six-game round robin format. The winners of each group would have played each other in a home and away final.

Well, scratch that.

Yesterday, an FMF meeting in Playa del Carmen - which included Decio de Maria and all 18 team representatives - changed everything. The FMF decided to backtrack on their decision to change the Liguilla format, keeping the old one in place. So what now? 

Now we go back to the same old Liguilla format, the one that we have become accustomed to. The one notable exception is that groups have been eliminated, so it is simply the top eight teams who qualify. By a nearly unanimous decision of 17-1 - Atlante's president was the odd-man-out - the owners finally came to the conclusion that this round robin format would not be good for anyone, especially the duopoly of TV networks.

Nonetheless, it is a step back in the right direction. The round robin format had failed in the past in the Mexican Primera and the last time it was done it only lasted one season. Additionally, having no groups is definitely a plus and it will mean that the best eight throughout the tournament will fight it out for the title.

Another thing that was changed during the meeting was the complete removal of the "Youth Rule." For those who are not familiar, that rule required each squad to play their U-22 players and accumulate 1000 minutes or more of playing time for youth players throughout the season. If that was not accomplished, then those who did not meet the requirements would be penalized at the end of the regular season.

Overall, this is potentially a very shaky move by the Mexican Federation. The removal of the "Youth Rule" is obviously not looking towards the future of their entire footballing system. Instead, it was done to address the complaints by team owners to remove a requirement they were not interested in meeting.

The Apertura 2011 begins on July 22nd and it should be a fantastic one. Stay tuned to the site for thorough coverage leading up to the beginning of the Mexican Primera.