TV Azteca’s Christian Martinoli’s rise to fame (and for good reason) has come due to his talent for calling games in real time, making witty comments, willingness to criticize certain situations if called for. Not mention, all this with the help of his two main sidekicks during his career, Mexico NT legends Luis García and Jorge Campos, and as of the last World Cup, Zague. But never has he been known for creating or reforming rules within Mexican soccer.
And I still don’t think that he will, or do I? A video has been circulating of Martinoli himself with an even bolder rule change suggestion than the one where teams qualifying for the playoffs went from 8 to 12: to go from 12 to 16! That’s right. The broadcaster believes the liguilla should begin directly with the Round of 16 and just forget the Repechaje, leaving just the bottom 2 out of contention. And seriously, at this point, why not?
La LIGA MX con octavos de final: califican 16 de 18.— Edu Torres (@edutorresr) September 5, 2022
Esto que dice @martinolimx me pareció bastante bueno, pero no lo vaya a escuchar Mikel Arriola o Guillermo Alegret Plat porque lo hacen realidad. pic.twitter.com/NrRCBbDzXD
He goes on to mention, “... you have to be an absolute and resounding embarrassment to not be within the 16 qualifying teams out of 18. Plus, what we like the most are the liguilla games, and that’s where more money is, and everyone wins, and everyone steals, and the [bleep] business, which is the only thing the league and federation are interested in.”
But the part I agree with the most in his rant is toward the end, pointing out it doesn’t matter if you’re 1st place in the league table, as well as the fact the league doesn’t care how teams play during the regular season. Clubs can just grind their way throughout the season with minimal effort, and as long they’re near the zone they want to be, that’s good enough, sacrificing quality level of play along the way. Just as long as you get to the playoffs in some sort of rhythm, and even 16th could beat 1st.
Now, just to be clear, I don’t actually approve of this playoff system Martinoli is suggesting. I was obviously kidding. But he does make a very fair point, and I truly don’t see it far away from happening. I personally would love to see a format where the top 2 get in straight to semis while 3 to 6 battle it out to decide the other 2 spots. However, many argue that matches mid-season for mid-table clubs or lower will start to mean nothing quicker. And if that’s what it takes, so be it. With that, you send a clear message that if you want to be champion, you have to be something special and put in the effort during the season. It’s not enough to sleepwalk your way into a title run.
Whether this idea will ever come to fruition remains to be seen, but considering every single league decision favors money over quality, I don’t see why this couldn’t come to be at some point. Let’s hope it doesn’t.