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Promotion and relegation to be suspended in Mexico?

Teams could be locked in place for four years, according to a report in El Universal.

Chivas v FC Juarez - Copa MX Apertura 2017 Photo by Alfredo Moya/Jam Media/LatinContent/Getty Images

A report in El Universal reveals that the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol (FMF) is considering suspending promotion and relegation between Liga MX and Ascenso MX for four years starting in the 2019-2020 season. This is ostensibly to allow Ascenso MX clubs time to “comply with regulations” that the FMF has in place.

As of right now, only six of Ascenso MX’s sixteen teams are eligible to be promoted should they win the league: Atlético de San Luis, Atlante, Celaya, Dorados de Sinaloa, FC Juárez, and Universidad de Guadalajara. It’s not clear what regulations the other ten clubs would need to comply with. While Club Tijuana had to increase the capacity of Estadio Caliente to be greater than 15,000 to participate in Liga MX back in 2011, it’s unclear if that 15,000 threshold is still in effect. If so, that would disqualify four clubs: Correcaminos UAT, Murciélagos, Mineros de Zacatecas, and current Ascenso MX champions Alebrijes de Oaxaca. Why the other six teams would be excluded is equally as murky.

How the suspension of the practice of promotion and relegation would help these teams is also mystery. Stadiums are often owned by local governments, so the cost of any improvements would need to be covered by the body that owns the stadium. Taxpayers are always loathe to pay more for sports venues, and the club owners may balk at paying more money to improve a structure they’re already paying to rent.

This is also assuming that the sanctions are only in place because of stadium capacity. It makes no mention of any other issues that may need addressing, nor does it offer any solutions to other issues that plague Mexican clubs.

Talk of ending promotion and relegation in Mexico is not new, as Major League soccer commissioner Don Garber held talks with Liga MX commissioner Enrique Bonilla last year about going to a single-entity model like MLS.