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Wise choice by Liga MX to cancel remainder of season?

The decision was made official last Friday, less than two days after 12 Santos players tested positive for COVID

Santos Laguna v Necaxa - Torneo Clausura 2020 Liga MX Photo by Armando Marin/Jam Media/Getty Images

This past Friday, Liga MX made official the cancellation of the remainder of the Clausura 2020 season which was already ten weeks in. There have been many mixed feelings and reactions around the country due to this decision, which appeared to have been pushed forward the moment the news broke that 12 Santos Laguna players tested positive for COVID-19. That was the final straw, so to speak, because less than 48 hours later, the cancellation was made official by Liga MX.

Since the COVID pandemic paralyzed the world, far from helping and showing compassion for those losing their jobs or directly affected by the virus itself, Liga MX officials have instead seized the opportunity by enabling three enormous decisions that will change the entire face of the sport in Mexico for the coming Apertura 2020 season, disregarding anyone that may be affected along the way. The first of these decisions came last month, with the verdict to eliminate the Second Division in favor of a “Developmental League”. The second big news began to stir on Saturday, with the rumor that ownership of Morelia, TV Azteca, are to move the team to Mazatlán for this coming season, which continues to be confirmed by various sources. Neither of these decisions were made taking jobs and fans into consideration; it was all in the league’s best interest.

The third decision, ultimately made on Friday regarding the canceling of the rest of the Clausura, appears to be the first correct and intelligent choice Liga MX officials have made since this entire pandemic began. For one, they waited until the last possible moment to put the season on pause, as they were even trying to move the 11th week up a couple days for it to take place midweek, so they could get in another complete slate of games before COVID officially impacted Mexico, instead of regarding the safety of players and fans. And while many other leagues around the world made a decision a few weeks back to either cancel or resume at some point, Liga MX couldn’t come to terms that it was not smart to resume, and therefore couldn’t make an official announcement on the status of their league.

Although Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla denies that Santos players had anything to do with the decision, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put two (facts) and two (timing) together. Whatever the case may be and however they may have reached said decision, it is no doubt the smartest call they’ve made since disaffiliating Veracruz last winter. No way would it have worked with cases in Mexico rising steadily and reaching its maximum number of deaths in a single day just a couple of days ago. There is no official or defined protocol to follow for any kind of event, even if it takes place behind closed doors. The chaos and uncertainty Mexico has faced in recent weeks screamed out for a definite cancellation of the season.

Besides, why force a return? It would just complicate things in every way possible. You would rush the ending to the current Clausura, only to have players on short rest, fatigue, and not in proper shape or form beginning the new Apertura season. Not to mention the crazy flurry of changes that we’d see in a couple weeks’ difference, given the high volume of player transactions that take place every six months in Mexico. Aside from that, players would return to action only to look up and see empty stadiums, the most anticlimactic situation presentable for a professional athlete.

With the decision they ended up making, teams can now deal with a certain degree of certainty, coaches, players, and staff can stay away from the spotlight a couple more months, at least as this situation blows by Mexico, as well as the front office now being able to begin planning for the Apertura 2020 season. It simply makes much more sense than having returned to action in a month to rush through the schedule to complete the Clausura. A very wise choice made by Liga MX officials, indeed.

The cherry on top of this decision was the vacated title call. There was no clear-cut leader or any heavy favorite to be crowned champion. To give away a title like that just wasn’t right or fair, as no one knows what would’ve happened come playoff time, even if the Cruz Azul fanbase disagrees.