One-year bans to Triverio and Aguilar lead to end of Liga MX referees' strike

Toluca's Enrique Triverio and Club America's Pablo Aguilar have been given one-year bans by the Mexico Football Federation (FMF) for aggressive incidents during Copa MX matches on Wednesday.

The decision was handed down Monday after the Liga MX referees' association (AMA) went on strike to force the cancellation of Liga MX and Copa MX Round 10 matches this past weekend.

The AMA issued a statement soon afterward saying it was satisfied with the players' punishments and would return to work immediately.

The strike came about because the referees' association was appalled at the initial consequences for Triverio and Aguilar, which the refs viewed as too light.

Triverio pushed referee Miguel Flores in the chest and was first handed an eight-match ban, while Aguilar received a 10-game punishment for motioning his head toward Fernando Torres. Both were shown red cards.

Section N of Article 18 of the FMF's regulations for 2016-17 states that if players "attack" officials "in any form" the punishment is a one-year suspension for the player.

On Monday, the FMF said via a statement that after reviewing the documentation, "the appeals committee has decided to revoke the [initial] sanctions imposed by the disciplinary committee ... and in their place have determined that [Triverio and Aguilar] shall be sanctioned with a one-year suspension."

The referees' association statement said: "The AMA acknowledges the decision from the Mexican Soccer Federation to prioritize the respect and sportsmanship in the field.

"With this ruling, the real winners are Mexican football and the fans. Football unified the whole country, the commitment of all who are involved in this sport must be an example to improve the respect and balance that we need in our society.

"From this moment, we are returning to our regular jobs in the pitch to bring our best efforts for the best of our tournaments."

Before the strike officially ended, Tigres coach Tuca Ferretti said he was happy to see a resolution at hand.

"My opinion is that it hurts all of us: fans, teams, referees, players, everyone," he said. "It's great that they have now brought the situation to a happy conclusion."

The referees' association released a statement Saturday arguing that the ban for each player "was not applied based on the regulations, nor according to the referee's report."

Liga MX owners had met in Toluca on Sunday to discuss the strike, and the FMF and league released a statement Sunday evening indicating that, after receiving a complaint from the referees, the appeals committee would review the incidents involving Triverio and Aguilar and judge whether the initial suspensions were just.