Mexican teams will not play in 2017 Copa Libertadores

Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexican teams will not play in Copa Libertadores, at least in 2017, because the tournament’s new schedule makes it nearly impossible, league President Enrique Bonilla said Friday.

Last month, CONMEBOL changed its calendar to play the tournament between February and November, instead of the first half of the year like it the past. The Mexican teams, invited to play in the championship since 1998, have several conflicts because the new dates create a conflict with the CONCACAF Champions league among others.

Bonilla said that he had several meetings with Conmebol President Alejandro Dominguez and asked for a new schedule but was unsuccessful. After that, both held several meetings trying to make it work, eventually the Mexican side withdrew from the tournament.

Bonilla said that Mexico hopes to return to Copa Libertadores in 2018.

“We want to come back, but playing like this will be to take a step back, it*s too much of a burden for our teams,” Bonilla said. “If we work together we might get something solid for 2018.”

Dominguez, through a press release, said that Conmebol respected the decision and said that the doors are open for Mexico.

“We worked very hard with our Mexican colleagues, and we understand that 2017 will be a transition year. The doors are still open and when Mr. Bonilla gives us a new proposal we will take a look at it,” Dominguez said.