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Liga MX suspends promotion and relegation for the next five years

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During a video conference on Friday, Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla announced that promotion and relegation between Mexico’s top two divisions is suspended for the next five years.

The decision came after 18 Liga MX owners took a vote on the subject during the same video conference.

Bonilla, who took over the league’s presidency in 2015, also confirmed the cancellation of Ascenso MX’s – Mexico’s second division – 2020 Clausura and the 1000-minute threshold for minors in Liga MX.

In addition, Bonilla added that Ascenso MX clubs, who voted in favor of the promotion-relegation decision earlier this week, will receive five years worth of guaranteed income ($845,000 per club every year).

The news comes after professional soccer in Mexico came to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, giving Liga MX executives time to get its affairs in order, including the possibility of Ascenso MX converting into a youth development league.

Recently, dozens of Ascenso MX and Liga MX players took their disagreement of ending promotion and relegation to social media, uploading a photos with the hashtag, “without promotion there is no development.” Major League Soccer players like San Jose Earthquakes’ Oswaldo Alanís and LAFC’s Carlos Vela – whose older brother, Alejandro Vela, was affected first-hand by the decision – also joined the movement.

With promotion and relegation – which was based on a points-per-game basis over a three-year period and only relegated and promoted one club from each league per calendar year – on pause for the next five years, the chances of a Liga MX-MLS merger on the back of the 2026 World Cup seems likely.

In July 2019, MLS commissioner Don Garber told ESPN’s Herculez Gomez that the “ultimate dream” (between MLS and Liga MX) is “a league that is combined in some way.”