Puebla Fights Through More Than Relegation

In the Mexican Primera, as it is in most leagues, it is very difficult for recently promoted teams to stay in the top flight. But in Mexico, surviving that first year is not enough.

Relegation in Mexico is calculated based on the last two years’ point totals + the current year. Divide the number of points by the number of games played, and the resulting quotient is your standing in the relegation battle. For recently promoted teams, the formula is still the same, but they have less games to calculate the quotient. So every game is doubly, even triply crucial.

Complicated? It’s the Mexican Primera, is there any other way? Add the usual lack of quality players for a recently promoted team, and it’s not surprising that they don’t stay for long.

That is what Puebla has had to deal with this year. You know Puebla. Land of the endless mole varieties and the pretty pottery. After earning promotion for 2007-2008, the camoteros barely survived the ensuing relegation battle with the Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz. And that escape put them squarely in another bottom of the table tussle this year.

But for la franja, relegation is the least of their worries.

The front office has been embroiled in a old-fashioned power struggle. Lawsuits and injunctions forced a temporary closure of their facilities. The Estadio Cuauhtémoc was close to being condemned, declared structurally sound, then filled beyond capacity a few weeks ago for the America match. The club was fined for the offense. The payroll hasn’t always been paid on time, if at all.

Relegation doesn’t seem like such a big deal with all that. Yet Puebla has risen above it all in the Clausura. It all starts with their very centered, yet emotionally charged Jose Luis Sanchez Sola. Chel