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FIFA calls out FMF’s Yon de Luisa on league malpractices

FIFA sent out a clear, resounding message to FMF’s President warning him Liga MX is not headed in the right direction

In this photo illustration a International Football... Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In an interview with ESPN’s René Tovar yesterday, FMF president Yon de Luisa detailed the recent ´requests´ made by FIFA to the Mexican Football Federation. It was made known by de Luisa himself to the public in the recent days of this message that had been delivered to him. FIFA’s message to the FMF president revolved around two main subjects: The first one being Promotion/Relegation and the second involving the multi-property issue that has long existed in the sport in Mexico.

In the first request, FIFA reminded de Luisa about the importance of the existence of a Promotion/Relegation system in football. The funny part is that the FMF president mentions to Tovar in the interview that this request was made back in February, before the actual decisions were made and carried out and of course, before the pandemic became world-wide. But then, why would the governing body of association football make such a request if the decision hadn’t even been made? Simple. FMF had clearly been planning this for not months, but years before. Naturally catching light on this after some time, FIFA decided to intervene.

De Luisa mentions that the request was made in a “supportive tone”, whatever that means. He went on to say, “… FIFA supports the decisions made by FMF and Liga MX, but at the end of the day, we would have to return to the league normality with promotion and relegation in the medium to long-term…” In other words, it seems to me that FIFA is intervening here and looking out for the players’ and football’s best interest in Mexico, but de Luisa spins it like it was a total supportive and endorsing message.

He was then questioned by Tovar on how long it would take to see the Promotion/Relegation system return to Liga MX, to what de Luisa answered: “The outline that was traced back then (when the decision to abolish the system was made), in the respective assemblies, we traced a six-year outline. That was the original plan. That doesn’t mean we won’t welcome it if the Expansion League or the Ex-Ascenso League are able to solidify before that - one, two, or three years prior.” The simple way to put this flurry of ‘elegant’ words is that in six years, they’ll probably come up with an excuse to make this a permanent situation because in reality, they don’t want a Second Division to exist in Mexico any longer. And that’s fine, but it would be good to hear them actually say it instead of spitballing excuses to the public.

Mexican Football Federation Press Conference Photo by Angel Castillo/UJam Media/Getty Images

On to the second point: multi-property. So, this point is directly aimed at five main entities: Grupo Pachuca, Grupo Salinas, Orlegi Deportes, Grupo Caliente, and finally, Liga MX (or FMF consequently) for allowing it to occur. Questioned by Tovar on precisely when multi-property in Mexican Football would end, de Luisa had this to say: “Without a doubt, I am convinced that when Liga MX gets stronger, and whenever we find other shooters or investors who have a desire to invest their capital in the development of this industry, betting on long-term projects, thus enabling the existence of buyers of teams that today are part of the multi-property groups, that’s the day it will come to an end.”

Tovar responded by saying that if the base or belief is that those investors still don’t exist and are never found, we will live in an eternal phase of multi-property, the same assumption any level-headed person would make after listening to de Luisa’s prior response. The FMF president had a reply to this follow-up: “Not eternal René, because we’ve received our first notice by FIFA. It’s a ‘non-official’ notice. It’s a simple conversation between FIFA presidency and FMF presidency, but it is an alignment toward where FIFA wants to see us, and we’ll have to work and find solutions. I do believe we can find the capacity of responsible investors that are interested in a medium or long-term (project)…”

Again, the short, simplified version: The FMF president has no idea when multi-property will end, but it will do so when the league is strengthened with more serious investors. It can’t go on forever though, much to his dismay, because he has now been reproached by the governing body of association football, no less, by being told “what you are doing is wrong and not healthy for the sport of football or soccer.” That’s basically what it is. Of course, de Luisa will never admit to this being what it truly was; a warning and a signaling out. Instead, he’ll tell the media that it was a friendly, supportive conversation about doing exactly what they are asking him not to do. Right.

Absolutely embarrassing if you ask me. To get to the point where FIFA decided they must contact you and call you out like a little kid who has done something wrong, telling you that you are not headed in the right direction, and letting you know that you must adjust these more-than-obvious situations is just completely ridiculous and a stain on Yon de Luisa’s regime, along with every other FMF and Liga MX official who have gone along with this. Hopefully, this helps open the eyes of anyone who hasn’t noticed the ill-advised decisions the league has made in recent years and amid the COVID pandemic.