Sometimes, it’s really hard to believe that Liga MX is a professional organization, with games broadcast around the world and players making millions of dollars. Why? Because unlike the model professional sports leagues around the world, Liga MX (and its clubs) have a serious problem with organization.
This week, we saw a match between Atlas and Tigres cancelled (it has now been postponed to November, during the international break) because a video screen at the stadium was broken and hanging too low over the field. This is simply unacceptable for a league of this stature; thousands of Tigres fans flew across the country for this game only to be turned around at the gates because the staff at Estadio Jalisco allowed this to happen. This wasn’t caused by the recent earthquake, it was caused by human error, and these types of errors need to be avoided if Liga MX wants to be taken seriously.
Furthermore, the resolution, which as said above is to postpone the match, is actually more likely to harm Tigres rather than the offending Atlas, as Tigres will be missing a good portion of their squad due to international call ups. So not only does the league allow this incident to happen, but they can’t even enforce a penalty properly to discourage it from happening again.
This isn’t the only example of Liga MX not having their ducks in a row this season. Let’s talk about Lobos BUAP, who played their first three home games untelevised, due to inability to reach a contract with any of the major TV providers. To BUAP’s credit, this week they debuted their own Internet TV channel, on which they successfully broadcasted their home match against Morelia.
But, back to those first three home matches: Can you imagine there being a Premier League or La Liga game that wasn’t televised at all? Of course, they would never let things get that far, and Liga MX shouldn’t have allowed it to happen either. At some point, it is up to the league to settle the dispute between the club and the TV networks, or to at least assist Lobos in setting up their streaming service for Week 1, rather than waiting for the club to do it themselves.
This kind of nonsense is exactly what prevents people from thinking of Liga MX as a major sports league. It’s popularity is far greater than that of say, the NHL, yet the NHL maintains a much higher degree of professionalism, lockouts aside.
Sticking with Lobos BUAP, let’s talk about the field for a second. It was horribly wet, dangerous to play on, and the lines on the field were borderline invisible. Seriously? It wasn’t raining during the game, it was just wet. Just like whoever was in charge of the video board at Estadio Jalisco, the grounds-crew failed to do their jobs. And you know what? I’ll even give them some leeway; it’s their first season in the top flight, there was heavy rain, okay, sure. But not painting the lines on the field? It’s a very simple job, and it still didn’t get done (though they did paint them in at halftime, thankfully).
The league needs to crack down on this kind of stuff. If the BUAP grounds-crew can’t keep the field in proper playing condition, punish them. You don’t have to deduct points or do anything drastic, just fine the team a little bit, encourage them to do better.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think the ridiculousness of Liga MX is part of what makes it so great, but there is a fine line between humorous stories and a damaging lack of professionalism, and dangerous fields, a lack of TV coverage, and games being outright cancelled for silly reasons like a faulty video board are all crossing that line.