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Report: Liga MX considering a temporary halt to promotion/relegation

The topic of promotion and relegation in Mexico was brought up at a recent meeting of the Mexican Football Federation’s Sports Development Commission.

According to El Universal, the Commission is considering a temporary halt to the practice beginning in the 2019-2020 season in order to give lower division teams a chance to catch up to Liga MX’s standards. The pause in pro/rel would last four seasons.

As it stands, the winners of each half in the second tier Ascenso play each other in a promotion playoff in order to earn a spot in the top flight for the following season. However, only six of the league’s 16 teams for the 2017-18 campaign meet Liga MX’s requirements.

New requirements implemented for this season stipulate a club must have, a 20,000 seat stadium, an independent training center aside from their stadium and a youth academy in order to qualify. Only Atl├ętico San Luis, Atlante, Celaya, Dorados de Sinaloa, FC Juarez, and Leones Negros UdeG fit the standards.

The first half champions, Alebrijes de Oaxaca, do not. Should they, or another ineligible team, win the promotion playoff at the season’s end, they would receive 120 million Mexican pesos in prize money, but not win promotion to Liga MX, As a result, no Liga MX side would be relegated.


  1. also i think relegation is silly. i think they would have to let go of half their assets because of all the sponsors and revenue they would lose instantly. what would they do, sell their big mls stadium and play in a smaller one? think about how devastating that would be to the demoted mls

    • Yeah that has been my point and answered question forever.

      Why do you artificially ban a team from winning the next year? No reason. Let all the teams that meet the financial demands of top level, be in and compete. MLS, has done it right. Mexico realizes that now.

      Next step expand the top league and when the timeframe comes up to re-start Pro/Rel…….it will get postponed.

  2. but but but the clubs in division 2 are there for a reason. there owner group isn’t as wealthy. their stadiums aren’t as big. etc. etc. being the smartest second grader doesn’t mean you should be in third grade.

  3. not surprised, this is the result of them allowing teams like Querataro avoid relegation by buying the promoted team..

    the solution is actually not a bad plan for USSF to work off.

    imagine if USSF said
    5 years from now USL2 will promote to USL1
    10 years from now USL will promote to MLS
    and every year the league champions will receive significant prize money that they have to invest in facilities/academies/etc.

    10 years from now we would have a much better league system to promote from and relegate to.

    • What MLS could easily do, once they are done expanding, is create two “temporary expansion slots”, one in each conference. There’s a number of ways it could work.

      1. The first season in which the TESs are enacted, the top East and top West teams in the USL are promoted to MLS for the next season. The following and each successive season, the best East and the best West team in the USL play those current teams with the winners staying and/or moving up to MLS and the losers staying and/or moving down to USL. This protects the investments made by current MLS teams and gives USL teams and their fans the opportunity to prove themselves.

      There’s a millions ways you could mix it up though.

      2. Same as above, but you take the two best USL teams regardless of conference and you have a four team World Cup style group with the current MLS teams. Top two teams stay and/or move up to MLS and the bottom two stay and/or move down to USL.

      If this was being implemented for this season, the two teams to take the TESs would be Louisville in the East and San Antonio in the West.


      Think I stole this from a Grant Wahl column, but not sure.

    • “Every year the league champs will receive a significant prize money….”

      Where does this money come from? You think the winner of USL will have significant enough money to build a MLS level stadium? There average attendance is 4,300 and there is no TV.

      You can’t just throw out dreams, get all the people hoping beyond hope that it can come true to yell great idea….without any basis of fact. There is zero money in USL. I can’t believe they can pay players type money. Now they are going to build their own academies and facilities?

  4. I would love to see a study done on the overall actual effect of being promoted/relegated on teams. What does it do to the long term health of teams in general? How does it affect attendance, advertising, income, etc.?

  5. I wonder in how many cases does attendance in second division go up instead of down?

    will be interesting….maybe the fact that they are presenting it like it is temporary ( I don’t believe that ) skews my “interesting study”

    But if you are bottom of second division now, you are in 36th place ( assuming 18 teams in second div ). After this, you are 18th place in an inferior division. You never really had a chance of winning MX

  6. So the paid PR posters will be all over this in a few minutes. So I’ll post this here just to get things started.

    I’m pro/rel agnostic. I believe our NTs, Pro leagues, and players development don’t necessarily need pro/rel to make us one of the most powerful soccer nations in the world. It can be done either way.

    However, I do believe that to become a truly powerful soccer nation that has strong NTs, domestic league, and player development we need USSF to be in control of the soccer pyramid and decision making within the US without undue influence and control from MLS/SUM or any other private entity that normally would have to answer to USSF but instead has control of USSF as indicated by Kathy Carter presdent of SUM about to become USSF president and hand picked by Garber and MLS owners, Sunil before that.

    This control effects decision making in all keys areas from NTs, from leagues, to player development and roster.

  7. They already have a system that highly protects the big teams, one bad season can’t relegate you and only one team gets relegated. Actually a decent model for MLS to follow one day if they create MLS.2

    • You’re missing the point, despite limiting pro/rel they have still found that the lower division simply does not have the same infrastructure as the teams in the Primera (and probably finances, though the rule focuses on “stuff”).

      And to me, size of stadia, ticket prices and whether the local fans can afford them, payroll, the infrastructure interacts with the economics. In theory a team with a rich Mark Cuban or Roman Abramovich owner could try just dumping money into soccer for a while, but that’s not necessarily sustainable, talk to NASL/Cosmos. You need a stadium big enough to hold the crowds to generate the attendance to generate the revenues to pay for the payroll that league involves.

      I think when these sort of rules are used in Champions League it’s bunk. That’s a long knockout competition where the teams last as long as they can on the field. It’s crap to tell some Belize or Curacao team it can’t play because it’s stadium is small. They are probably there for a couple games anyway, and if they stay longer they earned it.

      But for big leagues where the payrolls have already become serious, and where you have to sustain a team year round, and amateur hour no longer financially cuts it, I am fine with self-contained leagues or rules limiting who can be promoted. I think we ignore how buying your way up in a stadium that is too small can be unsustainable economically. The Cosmos could buy players for a couple years and make it interesting. But even then they couldn’t match our payroll. No one in the minors does. And there is no way to sustain a competitive payroll economically playing in a 5-10k stadium. It involves losing money every year for vanity and even rich people usually tire of heavy losses.

      • i hear what you’re saying. well so maybe these small cities should just be in a lower Mexican division? then they wouldn’t have to go into massive debt Trying to keep up with the joneses (big spenders) in the primera division.

    • Is there a big team in danger of relegation? That’s what they did 15 years ago. Instead of a big team dropping, they expanded to 20 teams, and went back to 18 later.

  8. It doesn’t make economic sense for clubs from small towns to meet the stadium size requirements due to their population. e.g, Blackpool would never have been promoted to the Premier League, and Eibar in La Liga.

    Sounds like the good’ol boys network in Mexico …

    • Reality check:
      Atl. San Luis is a 4 year old team created after the last team there moved to Chiapas;
      Atlante was moved from DF to Cancun and then lost their way into relegation;
      Celaya was created by merger in the 90s, briefly rose but overspent, ended up back in the lower divisions;
      Dorados has been relegated back down twice this century;
      Juarez is 3 years old;
      and Leones were bought out of existence in the 90s, rebooted, went up after 20 years, then got relegated back down.

      The implication is usually that we are holding down plucky teams that would fill the top division if allowed. The reality is usually yo yo teams or teams spending more than they have.

      To make an American comparison, try having a team on a USL payroll compete in MLS.

      • Pretty sure there was another Juarez team (Juarez Cobras) as Cle Kooiman was one of the first Yanks to play in Mexico.

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