There will be no promotion or relegation between the top two leagues of Mexican football for the next five years, Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla confirmed Friday.
Liga MX's 18 club owners finalized the decision in a vote during a video meeting. The second rung of the Mexican football pyramid, Ascenso MX, voted earlier this week in favor of abolishing promotion and relegation.
In his statement, Bonilla cited the poor state of Mexico's economy and the lower division's loss of earnings from television rights, sponsorships, and matchday revenue as reasons for the change.
Every Ascenso MX club will receive 20 million pesos ($845,000) each year as they focus on promoting young Mexican footballers, explains ESPN's Tom Marshall. A rule limiting the number of players aged over 23 in Ascenso squads is expected to be introduced.
The 2020 Clausura season in Ascenso is now officially over, Bonilla confirmed, with no club declared champion.
News of the plan to scrap promotion and relegation between Liga MX and Ascenso MX surfaced earlier this week, stirring plenty of controversy.
Los Angeles FC striker Carlos Vela, who has played 72 times for Mexico, complained on Twitter that abolishing promotion will kill player development. Vela's brother Alejandro is currently on the books of second-tier Venados and has fiercely protested the decision on social media.
Miguel Mansur, the president of Ascenso outfit Correcaminos, was similarly downbeat when he heard of the upcoming change. "Today is a dark day for football. Today we are canceling competition and falling into mediocrity," he said in Spanish to ESPN's Mac Resendiz on Tuesday, as translated by Marshall.