Liga MX to return in July with altered Apertura playoff format, new-look clubs
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Liga MX will introduce a new playoff system when the Apertura campaign kicks off on July 24, league president Enrique Bonilla announced Wednesday.

The Mexican top flight has been dormant following Cruz Azul's win over Club America on March 15. The Clausura season was officially canceled on May 22 with no champion declared.

In addition to revealing Liga MX's restart date, Bonilla confirmed that Monarcas Morelia's 450-mile relocation to the city of Mazatlan on the Pacific coast has been sanctioned. Queretaro, meanwhile, have been sold by Grupo Caliente to Gabriel Solares but will remain in their home city.

The rejigged playoff system for the 2020 Apertura will see the four top-seeded teams earn automatic quarterfinal berths, with clubs ranked fifth to 12th playing single-elimination games to determine the other four qualifying teams. The one-off matches will pit the fifth-placed outfit against the club in 12th, the sixth-ranked side against the 11th-seeded team, and so on.

The Apertura final is scheduled for Dec. 12.

(Courtesy: @PressPortmx)

Relegation and promotion between Liga MX and the second-tier Ascenso MX, meanwhile, will remain suspended for six years.

Supporters of Club Tijuana and Monterrey received a boost during Bonilla's address after he said their two-legged Copa MX final will be held on Sept. 16 and Sept. 23.

Liga MX and its clubs have designed a five-stage sanitary protocol to prevent further spread of the coronavirus and return players to match fitness in time for the July 24 resumption date, Bonilla said. The Mexican government gave professional soccer the green light to work toward a return on Tuesday.

"Behind closed doors, without public, the activity can be carried out and it's considered that it would be useful from an economic perspective," the country's coronavirus expert, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, told reporters, according to ESPN's Tom Marshall.

To date, Mexico has confirmed nearly 124,500 COVID-19 cases with over 14,500 related deaths. One test at Tigres came back positive Wednesday, and the seven-time Mexican champions are awaiting the results of five more tests.

Liga MX to return in July with altered Apertura playoff format, new-look clubs
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