Liga MX agrees to lower number of foreigners allowed on squads

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MEXICO CITY -- Liga MX club owners have bowed to pressure to lower the number of foreigners in Mexico's first division after a concerted effort from Mexico national team manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino and the Mexican federation.

Current Liga MX rules state that nine homegrown players must be included in each 18-player match day squad and a maximum of 12 non-homegrown players -- almost always foreigners -- registered with each club.

But from the 2020-21 season there will be a maximum of 11 non-homegrown players, with nine in each match day squad. Those numbers will be reduced to 10 and eight in 2021-22 and finally to nine and seven in 2022-23.

Mexico -- which will co-host the 2026 World Cup with Canada and the United States -- has had a positive record act youth international level in recent years and last month reached the final of the Under-17 World Cup, but a common complaint is that those players aren't then given opportunities in the country's first division.

"The football people with whom I've talked -- coaches, footballers, ex-footballers -- are in agreement that the number of foreigners is excessive," said Martino, who attended the owners' meeting, in a news conference last month.

The Liga MX owners' meeting also confirmed the sale of Club Queretaro to Grupo Caliente, which already owns Liga MX's Club Tijuana and second division club Dorados de Sinaloa.

The fate of disaster-club Veracruz is still to be decided. Current owner Fidel Kuri was denied access to the owners' meeting in Toluca and has threatened to take legal action if his club is disaffiliated from Liga MX.

Veracruz has had problems paying wages and is currently under an investigation, with the results expected to be announced later this week.