Former MLS executive backs merger between top North American leagues
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Former Major League Soccer deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis thinks a merger between MLS and Liga MX would increase the sport's growth in North America.

"I've always thought that it needs to be looked at," Gazidis told ESPN's Gab Marcotti.

"A league that encompasses North America, including Mexico, is something that would be a tremendous driver of interest."

Gazidis, who currently holds an executive position at AC Milan, played a vital role in the MLS' formation in 1996 and acted as the league's deputy commissioner from 2001-08 before moving to Arsenal.

A partnership between MLS and Liga MX in 2018 has drawn the two sides closer, though no formal discussions have been held over a potential merger. That relationship has already witnessed the launch of the Campeones Cup, a one-off match between the winners of the MLS Cup and Liga MX's Campeon de Campeones, as well as the Leagues Cup, a four-team tournament held in Las Vegas.

An All-Star match involving players from both leagues was also planned for this summer before it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"MLS has more flexibility, probably because they don't have the kind of history and established structures that exist in European football and that are so difficult to change," Garber said.

"Obviously the CONCACAF Champions League already exists, but this could be developed in different ways and the most extreme would be a merger of the leagues."

MLS commissioner Don Garber and Liga MX chief Enrique Bonilla have hinted at increased collaboration, but a merger of the two leagues remains a pipe dream among interested parties.

In April, Santos Laguna and Atlas owner Alejandro Irarragorri suggested that unifying the leagues would increase interest in MLS while bringing more financial viability to Mexican soccer's top flight.

Irarragorri claimed that attracting foreign ownership to Mexican soccer has been a challenge, adding the current MLS model is more sustainable and beneficial for the league's long-term health.

Former MLS executive backs merger between top North American leagues
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