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Mexican clubs withdraw from 2017 Copa Libertadores

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Rio de Janeiro, Nov 19 (IANS) Mexican clubs will not take part in the Copa Libertadores next season amid concerns about the competition's revamped schedule.

The announcement by Liga MX President Enrique Bonilla comes less than two months after South American football governing body CONMEBOL said the annual tournament would be expanded from six to 10 months. The competition will also feature four extra teams, reports Xinhua.

Bonilla said the new format placed too great a strain on Mexican clubs.

"The decision was made on November 2 to ask CONMEBOL not to participate in the 2017 edition, but we're working to return in 2018," Bonilla said in a news conference on Friday.

According to Bonilla, the tournament will clash with the Mexican league's Clausula playoffs as well as the Confederations Cup and Gold Cup.

CONMEBOL said "the door remained open" for Liga MX clubs to return to South America's equivalent of the UEFA Champions League in 2018.

"In the last few months we have worked intensely with our Mexican colleagues and we've made a big effort to listen to their concerns," the South American federation said in a statement.

"We understand that a transition year like 2017 will require flexibility. The doors remain open."

Despite belonging to the CONCACAF confederation, Mexican clubs have participated in the Copa Libertadores since 1998.

--IANS

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