Following Argentina’s Primera Division strike last month, Liga MX is also facing an extended stoppage of games, albeit for completely different reasons. Referees in Mexico’s first division refused to work this weekend’s games over what they felt were lenient punishments for two players that pushed and threatened refs in last week’s Copa MX matches.
Toluca’s Enrique Triverio and Club América’s Pablo Aguilar both came in physical contact with referees, as taboo an action as any on the soccer field, but the referees’ association (Asociación Mexicana de Árbitros) believes that the multiple-match bans handed out to each player are not consistent with Liga MX’s regulations.
Triverio pushed referee Miguel Angel Flores in the chest during Toluca’s penalty shootout loss to Morelia on Wednesday, which earned him an eight-game suspension on top of an immediate red card. Flores also sent off two other players in the same incident, but only Triverio is receiving a ban for his push. Also on Wednesday, Aguilar charged headfirst up to referee Fernando Hernandez during Club America’s 1-0 defeat to Tijuana, and for his head-butt, he got a ten-game ban.
The referees are arguing that both Triverio and Aguilar’s punishments do not conform with the Mexican federation (FMF) regulations, specifically section N of Article 18, which states that a physical attack of any kind on a referee should lead to a one-year suspension for the player.
For his part, Triverio released a Twitter statement on Friday apologizing for his actions:
Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla announced the postponement of games on Thursday, calling the referees’ decision “unilateral”:
After the strike was announced, the FMF released a statement saying that they would review both incidents in order to rule whether the suspensions should be increased. As of now, there is no word from either side about this upcoming weekend’s games, but that will most likely rest on the result of the FMF’s review.