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 By Tom Marshall

Liga MX club owners set to approve cup with MLS this month - Atlas chief

GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Liga MX club owners could approve a cup competition with MLS teams later this month, Atlas president Gustavo Guzman said on Tuesday.

Scheduling issues had postponed an announcement, but with Mexican teams no longer participating in the Copa Libertadores, a deal for a new tournament appears close.

"It is already programmed," Atlas' Guzman said in Guadalajara. "I don't remember the date, [but] the teams that had won the right to go to the [last] Copa Libertadores will participate, and in the owners' meeting there will be an outline for the tournament."

The Liga MX owners' meeting -- where new rules and schedules for upcoming seasons are thrashed out -- is set to take place on May 22, just before the 2017 Clausura final on May 25 and May 28.

"It is very good [news]," added Guzman. "Unfortunately we left the Libertadores and it's something you could see coming because we were invitees almost by obligation.

"I know CONCACAF isn't comparable to CONMEBOL, but it is our reality and we were battling against many disadvantages [in the Copa Libertadores] through being an invitee."

Liga MX teams have traditionally found success against MLS clubs in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Guzman praised the development of MLS and the potential for Liga MX to work with the neighboring league.

"We have to recognize that MLS has grown a lot and that there could be important developments between us and we have to grow that," added Guzman.

Toluca vice president Francisco Suinaga also suggested earlier this month that the cup competition would be approved at the next owners' meeting.

Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla confirmed last November that Mexican clubs would not be involved in the Copa Libertadores this year and suggested Liga MX was open to a potential competition with MLS teams.

If the Liga MX teams that would have participated in this year's Libertadores are involved as Guzman said, Club Tijuana, Club America and Chivas would play in the inaugural competition between the two leagues.

With MLS and Liga MX teams now not involved in the CONCACAF Champions League until the knockout stages in February 2018, there could be an opportunity to slot in the competition in the second half of 2017.

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.

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