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Jan 16, 2014

Naturalized players end up as first or second-tier Mexicans

Forget about the Premier League or La Liga's galaxy of stars, and about Liga MX President Decio de Maria's statistics, percentages and "tales." The only valid controversy when it comes to naturalized Mexicans is a legal issue. The law does not consider first- or second-tier Mexicans. Does soccer have first- and second-tier Mexicans?

That is the dilemma for naturalized players and Mexican soccer. The law imposes no limits on this and soccer must adopt and adapt to the country's laws, but at the same time, without breaking any law, teams take advantage when it comes to naturalized players. And in the end, between naturalized and foreigners, the opportunities for Mexican-born soccer players are reduced considerably and Mexico's national team, at the end of the day, pays the price.

Marshall: Mexico's new rules on naturalized players

I know this may sound contradictory, unconstitutional and even pointless, but modern times demand another type of regulation as relates to naturalized players, even though that may mean -- as I've said before -- that somehow or other talk of discrimination or unjustified segregation is mixed in.

The Liga MX needs clear rules on this issue. Using the European leagues as an example, as Decio de Maria did, is not the best route. Those are different conditions, players, cultures and education. Mexico must adapt its own country's laws so they don't end up affecting the game of soccer.

The objective is not to take an extreme nationalist stance that leads us to new snags on this issue. Foreigners, or in this case foreign soccer players, should always be welcome in Mexico. And those who opt for naturalization stemming from a wish to be Mexican, should also be welcomed. What's not fair is to abuse the kindness of a country and of a law in order to partake in a business called soccer.

Naturalized players ought to continue to exist in soccer, but they require other kinds of laws and rules, which will unfortunately make them, whether we like it or not, first- or second-tier Mexicans.