Juan Carlos Rodriguez was elected as the next president of the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) in a meeting of Liga MX team owners on Monday, while several rule changes for the domestic club season were also adopted.
Rodriguez, a former executive at Grupo Televisa and Univision, has taken the place of outgoing FMF president Yon de Luisa. Following a disappointing couple of years for the men's national team, which was knocked out in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup, De Luisa announced in February that he wouldn't seek re-election for his tenure that began in 2018.
De Luisa will continue on in his positions within FIFA and CONCACAF councils.
As new FMF president, one of Rodriguez's first tasks will be managing the creation of a new "Executive Commission of Mexican Soccer." According to a press release from Monday's meeting, the commission "will be the governing body that coordinates the efforts of the FMF and Liga MX for the transformation of our soccer."
A number of those upcoming alterations for Liga MX and club soccer were outlined in the press release.
Approved by team owners and spearheaded by Liga MX president Mikel Arriola on Monday, the changes include: A financial prize (and spot in the CONCACAF Champions League and Leagues Cup knockout round) for the year-long points leader; a drop in foreign roster spots from eight to seven; clubs submitting financial reports to Liga MX beginning in 2024; additional regulations for players' agents; merging the men's U20 league and the second division Liga de Expansion into a new "Expansion Sub-23" league; and reducing the amount of playoff invitations from 12 teams to 10.
Changes were also made to the Liga MX playoffs, with the top six in the league table automatically qualifying for a spot in the quarterfinal stage. The winner of a play-in match between the No. 7 seed and the No. 8 seed will gain an additional quarterfinal invitation. For the final quarterfinal invitation, the loser of the No. 7 vs. No. 8 match-up would then take on the winner of No. 9 vs. No. 10 in a format similar to the NBA's play-in format.
No changes will be made regarding promotion and relegation, which is still on pause for the Mexican top flight. In order for pro/rel to return, there needs to be at least four certified teams in the second division that could then be eligible to fight for promotion.
Currently, only one lower division team, Leones Negros, has so far been approved for promotion eligibility. If a team were to one day gain promotion to Liga MX, relegation would then return two years afterwards.
Additional mandates from Monday also include a push to create a plan for centralized TV rights and sponsorship deals (for Mexico, the United States and abroad); aiding more players with moves out of Liga MX; and creating a new framework to sell clubs that share ownership with another Mexican team.
Atlas, Santos Laguna, Queretaro and Mazatlan have announced interest in the process to bring in new owners.
Liga MX is set to wrap up their 2023 Clausura season this week with a two-legged final between Chivas and Tigres. Tigres will host the first leg on Thursday, and the second leg will be played in Guadalajara on Sunday.
The 2023 Apertura season will then kick off on Friday, June 30, and Liga MX teams will compete in the inaugural Leagues Cup against MLS clubs beginning on July 21.