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Mexico's Liga MX suspends promotion-relegation for next five years

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Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla has confirmed that promotion and relegation from and to the league has been suspended for five years, following a vote conducted during a video meeting of the 18 Liga MX club owners on Friday.

Ascenso MX clubs voted in favor of the decision earlier this week, with Bonilla confirming that each of the 12 teams will receive 20 million pesos ($845,000) every year.

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The second division will become a league seeking to promote young Mexican players, although there was no news about how that will work. It has been reported that there will be a limit on players over the age of 23. The current Liga MX minors rule will disappear, said Bonilla.

Bonilla also confirmed on Friday that the 2020 Clausura season in Ascenso is officially over, with no champion crowned, and that he is now fully recovered from the coronavirus.

Second-division clubs were affected by the decision by Liga MX to implement a certification system to qualify for promotion, which was done in order to guarantee clubs moving up had sufficient funds, that the money was coming from a legitimate source and that it had adequate facilities.

According to reports, none of the Ascenso MX clubs qualified for the certification this season. The league has been reduced from 18 teams to 12 over the past three years, with clubs dropping out and Bonilla stating that TV revenue, sponsorship and gate receipts are all down over the past season.

Players have already complained about the end of pro/rel, most notably LAFC's Carlos Vela, using the hashtag, "without promotion there is no development" on social networks.

The move to potentially end pro/rel will also fuel speculation of further Liga MX and Major League Soccer integration. Both MLS and Liga MX have stressed that the path to a joint league is a tough one, but neither has shied away from the idea of a North American superleague. Liga MX and MLS currently play the Campeones Cup and Leagues Cup, and an All-Star game between the leagues is scheduled for July, although that may now depend on the situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

MLS announced Wednesday that it will start a development league, but didn't spell out the details of how it will work.