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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jun 2, 2009

Mexico returns to competition after swine flu

Mexico will return teams to South American competitions and end their brief self-imposed exile after a row over swine flu.

South American Football Confederation (CFS) president Nicolas Leoz told reporters on Tuesday a meeting between the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) and his body had ended the dispute.

"The Mexican teams are back in the competitions. I am very happy that everything is resolved," said Leoz.

Mexico is the centre of the H1N1 virus which has infected nearly 19,000 people in 64 countries. It withdrew from South American games after players from Uruguayan and Brazilian teams refused to travel to Mexico for two scheduled games against Mexican teams San Luis and Guadalajara in the Libertadores Cup, a regional club competition.

FMF president Justin Compean said that, as well as the clubs returning to the Copa Libertadores next season, the Mexican national team would compete in the Copa America in 2011 in Argentina as originally planned.

"There have been many errors in communication but we are now over it," said Compean.

The deal was struck at a meeting before the FIFA congress which was due to open later on Tuesday.

Mexico, part of the CONCACAF confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean, features in South American competition as a guest team.

"What happened was not the fault of the Mexican Federation or the CFS, these were exceptional circumstances outside of (normal) football affairs," said Leoz.

In addition to the Libertadores Cup, the CSF organizes the Copa America for national teams and the Copa Sudamericana for clubs.

Compean said Mexico hoped to have San Luis and Guadalajara in the last 16 stage of next year's competition although that was a detail that remained to be resolved.

The Mexican national team first appeared in the Copa America in 1993, reaching the final where they lost to Argentina while Mexican clubs joined the Libertadores Cup five years later.

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