Has the last tie of Mexico with the Conmebol been broken?

First the Sudamericana, then the Libertadores, now Mexico is without Copa América and no date of return

Has the last tie of Mexico with the Conmebol been broken?

The friction between Mexico and Conmebol had a final point that, although it may be temporary, for the first time has left Mexico without playing in South America since they were invited in 1993. The Mexican Football Federation (FEMEXFUT, for its initials in Spanish) has given the news with some frustration: the Copa América was the last tournament they had left. Officially it has been the differences in schedules that have prevented Mexico from participating in the upcoming Brazilian Cup 2019. Ramón Jesurún, vice-president of Conmebol, confirmed that Mexico was invited, but they were the ones who declined the invitation.

Leer en español: ¿Se ha roto el último lazo de México con la Conmebol?

It is not easy to participate in two confederations at the same time, Mexico is obliged to participate in the CONCACAF tournaments, which can not be neglected by the Copa América. This has forced the country to present alternative teams to meet its commitments. This sacrifice was worth to the Aztecs, who could improve their level and show that they could compete with the South Americans. In its first participation in the selection tournament in 1993, Mexico lost the final against Argentina and in 2001 against Colombia, being those sub-championships their maximum achievements in the cup.

This great opportunity was extended to the clubs that participated in the Copa Sudamericana and the Copa Libertadores, with good results. However, CONCACAF did not think in the same way, because it worried that Mexico neglected its official tournaments. For this reason, for the editions of the Copa América in 2011 and 2015 it was decided that the country could participate, but with a youth team to give priority to the Copa Oro that takes place in the same year. With that same argument it also withdrew its clubs from the Copa Sudamericana.

The complicated schedules faced by the clubs and the Mexican national team forced the northerners to retire from the Copa Libertadores in 2017. Since then, FEMEXFUT says they hope to return in the future "when the calendars allow it", which looks distant.

What's next for Mexico?

The tense relationship with the South Americans has made Mexico rethink its sporting development making it less dependent on Conmebol. So far the country considered South American tournaments as an important asset. However, now it has to look for alternatives in its own confederation, especially after the announcement of the Europeans of the League of Nations. The growth of MLS has allowed the Americans and Mexicans, who along with Costa Rica are the three strongest in CONCACAF, to develop new projects to raise the level of the area.

Little has been said of the joint tournament between CONMEBOL and CONCACAF, economic success could be the only thing that made it a reality. The will of both confederations, with their complicated calendars, disagreements and different sporting levels makes it difficult to achieve in a short term. Now, the Mexicans will give priority to the Liga de Naciones de la CONCACAF, hoping that in a medium and long term this represents an improvement in the level of the zone. The only opportunities of the country to play against South Americans and Europeans will be the Olympic Games, the World Cup, the Confederations Cup and the Club World Cup, only in case of qualifying.

On a sporting level, Conmebol is not affected. However, it is economically affected because Mexico and the United States are two of the most important markets on the continent that will consume less the South American tournaments. The growing rivalry between MLS and Liga MX clubs begins to raise passions in CONCACAF, proof of this is the final of the Champions League between Guadalajara and Toronto, rivalry that in the medium term will be beneficial for the area.

Latin American Post | Luis Ángel Hernández Liborio

Translated from "¿Se ha roto el último lazo de México con la Conmebol?"

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