Mexico's Primera Division's operations committee confirmed that the annual InterLiga tournament, held each January at Home Depot Center and in Texas, has been eliminated, which means the league's Copa Libertadores entrants will be selected solely on its domestic results.
It's a big blow for Mexican soccer fans in L.A. InterLiga has brought some of the Primera Division's best clubs to Southern California, eight of them each year, and the competition has been intense because something real, a berth in South America's club championship, has been at stake.
Monterrey, Cruz Azul, Toluca and Santos, which are Mexico's representatives in the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League, also will compete in the 2011 Copa Libertadores. Guadalajara has reached the semifinals of this year's tournament.
The committee, meeting in Cancun, also announced which four Mexican clubs will play in SuperLiga this summer and unveiled the groups that will used for the 2010 Apertura (fall) and 2011 Clausura (spring) championships.
Puebla, Pachuca, Morelia and Pumas UNAM will participate in SuperLiga, a U.S. tournament co-sponsored by the Primera Division and Major League Soccer. MLS's entrants this year include Chivas USA.
Mexico's two most popular teams received tough group assignments for the domestic championships.
Guadalajara was placed in Group A with Monterrey, which won last year's Apertura title and had the best regular-season record in this year's Clausura, and Santos, which lost on penalty kicks to Toluca last weekend in the Clausura championship.
America is drawn with Toluca and semifinalist Pachuca, the reigning CONCACAF club titlist.
Mexico's top league divides its 18 clubs among three groups. Although everyone plays a similar schedule -- home-and-home against each of the other 17 clubs, with one Apertura and one Clausura meeting -- the top two teams in every group qualify for the playoffs regardless of record. Two at-large teams also make the playoffs. Seedings are based on records rather than group placement.
The Torneo Apertura will begin July 23, with the championship series slated for late November or early December, and the Clausura will run from early January through late May.
The 2010-11 groups:
Group A: Monterrey, Santos (Torreon), Guadalajara, UANL Tigres (San Nicolas, Nuevo Leon), Estudiantes Tecos (Zapopan, Jalisco), Necaxa (Aguascalientes).
Group B: Toluca, America (Mexico City), Pachuca, Atlas (Guadalajara), Atlante (Cancun), San Luis (San Luis Potosi).
Group C: Morelia, Cruz Azul (Mexico City), Pumas UNAM (Mexico City), Puebla, Gallos Blancos (Queretaro), Jaguares (Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas)
Here are how the groups were aligned for the 2009-10 season. Necaxa was promoted from the Liga de Ascenso, and Indios de Ciudad Juarez was relegated.
Group A: Guadalajara, Toluca, Atlas, Gallos Blancos, Indios de Ciudad Juarez, San Luis.
Group B: Monterrey, Morelia, America, Pachuca, Puebla, Jaguares.
Group C: Pumas UNAM, Santos, Cruz Azul, UANL Tigres, Estudiantes Tecos, Atlante.