The Apertura 2023 resumes Friday night with a pair of “who cares” games (last-place Cruz Azul at Mazatlán FC and Toluca at Tijuana) made even more mundane because most Liga MX fans are focused on Saturday night’s “Clásico de Clásicos.”
OK, yes, Toluca is a legitimate title contender, but Friday’s double-header will be competing with Independence Day celebrations across the country which does not bode well for attendance or television viewing.
On the other hand, the 250th “Super Clásico” will see fourth-place Guadalajara pay a visit to sixth-place América with the host Aguilas eager to avenge last season’s stunning playoff loss to the Chivas. We’ll take a closer look at that enticing match-up tomorrow.
For now, the subject of this installment of Liga MX Chronicles will be the no good, very bad week suffered by Puebla and the head-shaking decision made by the league’s Disciplinary Committee.
Puebla gets a raw deal
In their infinite wisdom, the head honchos at Liga MX HQ stripped “La Franja” of their Matchday 7 victory over Tijuana, a dominating 3-0 win that lifted Puebla out of the cellar and into 12th place.
The decision was based on an administrative “violation“ related to the personnel present on the Camoteros bench during the game.
Regulations require teams to register the players and coaches who will be on the bench during the game via a league-managed online app, an app that malfunctioned.
The problem arose last month ahead of Matchday 6.
Puebla fired coach Eduardo Arce after a Matchday 5 loss at Mazatlán FC and replaced him with co-coaches, a designation that is permitted by league bylaws and was properly registered with league HQ by the club.
As Puebla prepared to play FC Juárez at home on Aug. 25, the app failed to recognize both Ricardo Carbajal and Luis Noriega. The team advised the fourth official of the issue and the registration was completed by hand and the situation was reported to the league office.
Evidently, the league did not bother to rectify the problem because when Puebla sought to register its bench personnel ahead of the Tijuana match, the app again malfunctioned.
This time, after team officials advised Maximiliano Quintero of the problem (and video confirms the action), the fourth official forgot to complete the manual registration process. As a result, Luis Noriega was ruled to be improperly on the bench during the match.
The Disciplinary Committee met this past week – and Puebla presented the evidence outlined above – but the Big Shots decided it was Puebla’s responsibility to make sure the fourth official completed the manual registration.
So, Puebla was docked 3 points and Tijuana was granted a 1-0 win, a result that boosted the Xolos into 12th place with 8 points and sent the Camoteros tumbling down to 17th with 4 points. And we still don’t know if the issue with the app has been addressed.
Naturally, the Camoteros are furious and club officials announced they intend to file a complaint with TAS (The Court of Arbitration for Sport).
One would think Puebla has a rather good case and the Liga MX could end up with a well-deserved black eye even if their ruling is upheld. Let’s hope justice is done.