Three clubs in Mexican soccer’s second-tier Ascenso MX have announced they will take their battle with the Mexican federation (FMF) over the decision to scrap promotion and relegation to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Last month, Mexican top-tier Liga MX, Ascenso MX, and the FMF voted suspended promotion and relegation to and from the top flight Liga MX for the next five years.
In return, Ascenso MX will receive MXN240m (€9.3m/$10.2m) for five years, which represents MXN20m per club every year. The second tier will now aim to become a league seeking to promote young Mexican players.
Three clubs which play in Ascenso MX – Leones Negros, Correcaminos, and Venados – are unhappy with the decision, however, and are now taking the matter up with the CAS in order to reverse the move.
“Never in our Mexican football has such an unpopular and harmful decision for the competitiveness of our sport been taken,” said Leones Negros in a statement.
The CAS recently ruled that world governing body Fifa was not legally required to enforce promotion and relegation in the United States soccer pyramid following a case put forward by Miami FC and Kingston Stockade FC.
Article 9 of the Fifa Regulations for the Applications of Statutes says: “A club’s entitlement to take part in a domestic league championship shall depend principally on sporting merit. A club shall qualify for a domestic league championship by remaining in a certain division or by being promoted or relegated to another at the end of a season.”
The original purpose of Article 9 was to ensure that a situation which arose in Spain in 2007 could not be repeated. Then, a wealthy investor who owned fourth division club Granada bought second division club Ciudad de Murcia and moved the club to Granada, renaming it Granada 74, thus giving the city a second division team without it having to be promoted.
As such, the CAS ruled that Article 9 “was only intended to apply to member associations that had already implemented the principle of promotion and relegation and to avoid, inter alia, within such existing systems, cases like the ‘Granada case’”.
As promotion and relegation already existed in Mexican soccer, the recent CAS ruling could swing in the Ascenso MX clubs’ favor.
Promotion to Liga MX, however, has not only been dependent on results but also certain financial conditions, mainly infrastructure and a declaration of economic assets that prove players will be paid on time.
It has meant that a number of Ascenso MX clubs have not been eligible for promotion, while many who have made the move up have struggled due to the financial disparity with the leading clubs.