ASUNCION: South American confederation CONMEBOL will continue to hold open the Copa Libertadores door for Mexican clubs despite the failure to agre terms over their participation in next year’s tournament.
CONMEBOL and its centra/north American counterpart have been working ever more closely in recent years, as evidenced by the staging this year of the centenary Copa America tournament in the United Sates.
The regular guest appearances of the Mexican national team in the Copa America has always been a marketing and television bonus for CONMEBOL.
Both confederations are trying to regain credibility after the ravages of corruption wreaked by generations of leading officials who are now facing trial in the US over the $200m FIFAGate scandal.
New CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez had hoped to build on the political and practical success of the Copa America Centenario by bringing Mexican clubs into the Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of Europe’s Champions League.
However negotiations over an extended fixture schedule concluding in a ‘European style’ one-off final have yet to satisfy concerns of the Mexican Liga MX, according to its own president Enrique Bonilla.
Dominguez has said he is content to wait, in the hope that the success of the revamped 2017 tournament will attract the Mexican clubs.
He said: “In recent months we worked closely with our Mexican colleagues and made great efforts to address their concerns. From CONMEBOL, we agreed to requests from the Liga MX, understanding that a transition year, as will the 2017, requires flexibility so the doors are still open.
“Our ambition in CONMEBOL is substantially to improve our club tournaments.
“First, it is important to clarify that the reforms that are underway go far beyond a new calendar. CONMEBOL hired a technical study group to analyse the issues that come less competitive regional football, the lack of coordination of scheduling, logistics, infrastructure and stadium management.
“For a long time, clubs have had the dilemma of having to choose between being competitive in their local tournaments or continental.
“Our proposal for an annual calendar will allow, for the first time that clubs can compete at a high level in both instances. This will strengthen the quality of skills in each country, benefiting our football throughout the region. In addition, this proposal will facilitate better logistics organization, with less stress for the players as well as better television programming for fans.”