Enrique Bonilla

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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.”

Liga MX president says he has coronavirus

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MEXICO CITY (AP) The president of Mexico’s Liga MX soccer league announced Friday he has tested positive for coronavirus.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage

Liga MX President Enrique Bonilla said in a statement that “I don’t have serious symptoms.” He says he’ll remain in isolation and keep up with the situation of Mexican first-division soccer.

Mexican first-division soccer matches were suspended this week until further notice to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mexican soccer learned Tuesday the head of Atlético de San Luis team, Alberto Marrero, also had coronavirus.

Mexico has yet to declare legal bans on public gatherings, but has encouraged its citizens to maintain a healthy distance in crowded places due to coronavirus.

MLS, Liga MX have discussed combining; How could it work?

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The idea of a single league combining Liga MX and Major League Soccer, well, it’s just plain awesome.

We can thank Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla for lifting the lid on discussions between the top flights of Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

The Mexican boss was speaking at Stamford Bridge about the future of the sport, and admitted conversations between MLS and Liga MX had taken place.

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He even puts a vague timeline on the project, citing the 2026 World Cup as a springboard for North American club momentum (much like how the 1994 World Cup helped launch MLS).

This led to MLS vice president Dan Courtemanche issuing a comment that certainly wasn’t “No.” From MLSSoccer.com:

“We have been discussing with Liga MX additional ways we can collaborate on and off the field, and we are excited about the future opportunities that exist between our two leagues.”

Liga MX is a more established league with older, bigger brands and has dominated the rivalry between the two leagues, but there’s no denying the headway made by MLS over the past decade.

Given the relationships between the two nations, the melding of the leagues beyond a CONCACAF Champions League is, to borrow a Joe Prince-Wright term, mouth-watering.

But how would it work? Presumably more like a super league, though it would also give MLS another chance to implement what I’ve long-argued is already in their plans (promotion and relegation).

With the money invested by the biggest Mexican clubs in their teams, utilizing a salary cap just isn’t going to make sense. New York City, LAFC, LA Galaxy, Toronto FC, and Atlanta United would be among the teams you’d imagine beyond the cap. And if Club America, Chivas Guadalara, and others were to really spend, then, yes, the league could legitimately start to make headway in competition with Europe (especially with South American elite players who would be able to make nearly as much money closer to home).

A caveat: This is far less attractive an idea if Liga MX sides have simply been swayed by the business model of capping player expenditures and being owned by a single entity. But that can’t happen, right?

How do you think it would work?