Players, clubs furious over reports Liga MX will end promotion and relegation

MEXICO CITY -- Players and clubs are concerned over Liga MX's reported plans to ditch promotion and relegation and instead use Mexico's second division as a development league.

The decision to cancel the current Ascenso MX 2020 Clausura season and restrict pro/rel was made after votes by second division club owners earlier this week, according to multiple reports, but not everyone is happy.

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"You want to be a top league? Behave like one," tweeted out Venados' Alejandro Vela, brother of LAFC's Carlos, who has been vocal about maintaining pro/rel.

Correcaminos president Miguel Mansur was left disappointed by both the news and how fellow Ascenso MX club owners voted against the possibility of winning promotion.

"I'm worried, the key word is pissed off, sad," Mansur told ESPN earlier this week. "Today is a dark day for football, today we are canceling competition and falling into mediocrity."

Mansur also suggested jobs and sponsorship would be lost if the decision to remove pro/rel is made official.

"The players are worried, hurt, they feel displaced and used," said Mansur.

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.

A development league with age and foreign player limits is set to replace the current format, according to reports.

"What do the sponsors think when seeing this, leaving so many families adrift, without any ethics or respect for our human rights?" read a statement from the Mexican players' association. "Think about us, about the players."

The wives and girlfriends of the Ascenso MX players also released a video in which they urge those making decisions to consider the families of all the people involved in the second division.

Liga MX has a stated goal for getting up to 20 teams from its current 18, although there has been no official word on how that will be done. Second division club Atlante -- one of Mexico's historic teams -- has announced it is interested in becoming part of Liga MX, which could include a move back to Mexico City from its current base in Cancun.

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 have shied away from the idea of a North American superleague.

Liga MX and MLS currently play the Campeones Cup, Leagues Cup and an All-Star game btween the leagues is scheduled for July, although that may now depend on the situation regarding coronavirus.

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