Posted on January 15, 2013 12:58
Before the season started, as it happens before every season, the teams of liga MX looked abroad to fortify their squads. 20 Players, mostly from South America were signed, sealed… but not delivered, only a few have been cleared to play.
A new law was enacted in November of 2012 changed the way foreigners were to obtain their work visas. The law states that the visa should be acquired and finalized either in their country of origin or another country outside of Mexico. Before the law, foreign players could enter the country with their tourist visa, and then get a work permit once already in the country.
Apparently this new law caught the Liga MX front office and some of their teams by surprise. One of those teams was San Luis, whose off-season acquisition, Argentine Mauro Matos, was denied entry into the country when he failed to deliver the appropriate documentation when given the “your papers, please” directive.
Matos joined players from Atlante, Cruz Azul, Santos, and Atlas who have contracts, but not visas. They had to exit the country to acquire their permits before joining their new teams.
If only the story ended there.
5 players entered the country without the appropriate documentation and still took the field for their new squads. It wasn’t until after J1, that it was determined that these players were not legally qualified to work in Mexico. They also have since taken their leave to make the necessary arrangements.
How could this happen? Decio de Maria, the Liga MX Commissioner, blamed it on a software snafu. To add more intrigue to the situation, one of the teams that fielded ineligible players was Queretaro, who is in the thick of a relegation bout with Atlas. The Atlas front office has wondered aloud if the point Queretaro earned would be subtracted because of this. De Maria says no. Stay tuned.
In total, 15 players have had to hastily arrange trips to points outside Mexico to complete the protocol to get their work permits.
Liga MX was branded as such in the market makers’ desire to make the Mexican soccer league a world class organization. Needless to say, for a league that is dependent on importing talent to not have a grasp on the immigration laws is nothing less than a complete embarrassment. What is worse for the league front office is that there were several teams that fulfilled the requirements of the new law without incident: Pumas, Club América, León and Pachuca.
There is a disconnect somewhere – a very worrisome disconnect.