We may have seen the last appearance of Mexican teams in the Copa Libertadores, the South American club championship.
This week, the swine flu scare was used by Sao Paulo and Uruguay’s Nacional as an excuse to not travel to Mexico for thefirst-leg matches in the second round.
After exploring the possibility of playing Mexican “home” matches in Colombia. The Mexican federation decided that Chivas and San Luis would withdraw from the tournament altogether. Not only that, the federation also stated that it would sever all ties with Conmebol (the South American confederation).
In a way I’m sad to see the Mexicans go, in another not so much. There’s too many invitations in Conmebol tournaments and sometimes it just feels like it makes things more complicated. At some point, a Mexican team is going to win it and there’s going to be a huge argument over playing in the World Club Cup.
In any case, the dropout by the Mexican teams is bad — very bad — for the Copa Libertadores at this point. It subtracts the huge Mexican TV market, establishes a very nasty precedent for how Concacaf and Conmebol should deal with each other, and allows for any other team who is pissed off enough with the confederation to leave the competition.
Mark my words: at some point, someone will use this to justify dropping out of the Libertadores midway through a semifinal because of a really bad refereeing decision.
Incidentally, if Mexican squads are not involved, can a case be made to lower the number of teams involved in the tournament? 36 is just ridiculous. 24 would be better. 16 would be an awesome tournament.