Rafa Marquez blasts ending pro/rel in Liga MX
Mexico legend Rafa Marquez is vehemently against bringing an end to promotion and relegation in Liga MX and has warned that MLS will soon overtake Mexico's first division.
The relegation system has been under review in Liga MX, with some club owners leaning towards closing up the league at 20 teams, at least temporarily, and making the second division a developmental league to give opportunities for younger Mexican players.
But Marquez believes it would be a backwards step.
"I say that no [it isn't right], not for Mexican football or any other league," said the former Barcelona defender on ESPN's Futbol Picante. "Instead of advancing, each day we are going backwards with making these decisions and when it is managed like this, when there are [personal] interests from the owners of teams in football, we won't advance on the field."
Mexico's second division has only 12 teams at present, compared to 18 three years ago and has struggled from a lack of investment, while Liga MX has restricted promotion only to clubs that meet strict requisites relating to proof of funds, low government influence and financial stability.
Marquez said ending promotion "takes out the soul" of the clubs in the second division and warned that unless Liga MX sorts itself out, MLS will overtake it fairly soon.
"It hurts me to say it, but the MLS is growing with giant steps and in a short amount of time they will surpass us," said Marquez.
The former Barcelona defender pulled no punches in stating that the Mexican players' association (AMFpro) hasn't been able to have the influence he wanted it to when he helped set it up in 2017 and that some players from Mexico still lack the right mentality.
"I think that in Mexico there is a lot of quality and talent, and the part we have to reinforce is mental. We must be stronger to get the most out of all the players to show that level and obtain better results," said Marquez.