Liga MX relaxes rules on naturalized players

Amid calls for the league to limit the number of foreign-born players after a horrible 2013 for the national team, Liga MX is taking the opposite course.
The Liga MX is opening the door to more foreign-born players in the league, with an announcement that naturalized Mexican citizens will automatically count as a domestic player starting from the Apertura 2014, Liga MX president Decio de Maria said on Monday.

The current rules state that each team is allowed five non-Mexican players and that those born outside of Mexico to non-Mexican parents must not only satisfy the requirements to gain a passport with the country’s foreign relations authorities, but also have played ten tournaments (five years) in the Liga MX.

For example, America’s Argentina-born player Rubens Sambueza is currently a Mexican citizen, but is registered as one of Las Aguilas’ five foreigners because he has only completed nine Liga MX tournaments.

The move comes despite calls in the Mexican press for the number of foreign-born players in the Liga MX to be reduced following the Mexican national team’s disastrous 2013, although De Maria is adamant the change won’t affect El Tri and will improve the league.

“The league is looking to generate a better show,” De Maria said in a news conference. “There are those who believe the number of naturalized and foreign players should be reduced, but this is the decision the league has taken." 

“Players need to win their spots through their work, not because of their passports,” he added.

De Maria went on to praise the work Mexican clubs have done in their youth systems in the last ten years, urging the youngsters to “compete to win a spot, because sport is competition.”

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