Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla announces pro/rel hiatus, other changes to league structure

Enrique Bonilla - Liga MX - press conference

Just like MLS, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the 18-team Liga MX to a halt. And when it returns, its structure will be a little more similar to its neighbors to the north.

In a press conference on Friday, Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla announced Mexico's top league would be suspending promotion and relegation for the next five seasons as part of an agreement with the 12 teams in Ascensco MX — Mexico's second division — that sees those clubs receive guaranteed yearly payments of just shy of $1 million from the top flight during that span.

The restructuring will also see the second division implement as yet unspecified rules to promote the inclusion of younger Mexican players on rosters, while eliminating the current Liga MX minors rule. The latter had stipulated that teams play young players up to 1,000 minutes per year. All minutes played by U21-eligible players were permitted to be included toward those 1,000 minutes in 2019, as were up to 50% of minutes played by U22-eligible players.

The structure brings the league more in line with the MLS' relationship with the USL, which includes teams operated by MLS clubs in the USL League Championship and USL League One. There is currently no promotion and relegation between the two leagues, or within the tiers of the USL.