The controversies and bad practices continue to mount in this COVID/offseason period for Liga MX. This time, it’s Xolos de Tijuana ownership Grupo Caliente who is said to be under fire currently for their decision to bring along nine players from their ex-team Gallos Blancos, most of them youth academy players who were beginning to flourish at first team level. Their careers changed directions in a big way a few days ago when the announcement came. Even the new front office announced those players had been sent packing and were no longer part of the Queretaro organization. While that was probably part of the agreement when the franchise was sold to the Atlante ownership group, it might not be as simple as that.
While it is yet to be confirmed, rumors began to circulate that some of the players weren’t happy with the sudden move, as they had no idea it was coming. Some of them believed they would remain with their team for this coming Apertura 2020, but Grupo Caliente had other plans. This appeared to trigger an AMFpro (Mexican Footballers Association) letter released two days ago specifying the rules pertaining to the players of a recently sold club.
In the letter, they outline the following points:
1. Remember that any player without contract is free of negotiating with any club best suits his interests without previous team’s intervention.
2. If any club exerts pressure or threats to any player, they should denounce it in order to be advised by us and act accordingly.
3. For the players that have contracts with franchises that have been sold, relocated, or are part of a multiproperty, the contract is with the club they have been registered under, not with the previous owner (this would apply to the Queretaro players).
4. To avoid misunderstandings, it is vital to have a ‘Transfer and Hire Regulation’ rulebook which has been approved on hand, as informed by Liga MX presidency in previous days. However, its publication is still pending.
In the fourth point lays the secret and the entirety of this problem. The rulebook has yet to be released, and there is where this Tijuana/Queretaro situation could be resolved. But if the rulebook doesn’t change its stance on the points mentioned in the letter, there is no way any Queretaro player can be forced to go play for Tijuana now, as their contracts belonged to the Gallos Blancos de Queretaro franchise officially, no matter the ownership group.
According to AMFpro president Álvaro Ortiz: “If the player is not in agreement with leaving, in this case to Xolos, there is no reason why he should go. His deal was with the club. If he does not enter the club’s plans and doesn’t want to migrate to Xolos, his contract must be rescinded according to law and FIFA rules… we are going to call out these actions because they can’t keep happening in Mexican Football.”
So, there it is; the player is not forced to leave the club, even if his ex-owners say so. This is what is being investigated, as all nine players may not want to migrate north. The dispute continues with no clear image of what the resolution could be.
What remains to be seen is if the group led by Gabriel Solares, who recently acquired Gallos Blancos, didn’t previously negotiate a deal with Grupo Caliente where their players’ situations were sorted out. But this must be done in a legal manner and the players must also be informed of said decision in good time. Queretaro’s front office don’t seem to care much anyway, as they have already taken great advantage of their multiproperty situation by bringing in approximately ten of their Atlante players to “strengthen” the squad. Even Atlante’s ex-head coach Alex Diego jumped ship to join Queretaro.
Yet another stain on this horrific 2020 so far for Liga MX. We’ll see how this situation sorts out, and whether or not all nine Queretaro players will be on the Tijuana squad come the Apertura 2020 season.