Atletico Madrid seal investment in Liga MX club Atletico San Luis
Atletico Madrid say an investment of an undisclosed size in Liga MX club Atletico San Luis has been completed, pending ratification by the Mexican authorities, as the La Liga outfit adds a Mexican team to their other overseas franchises in India and France.
Atletico chief executive Miguel Angel Marin travelled in mid-February to meet with executives at the club based in the centrally located Mexican city of San Luis Potosi, and San Luis owners, the Payan family, were in Madrid this week to formalise the deal and attend Wednesday's Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen at the Calderon.
AS says that Atletico will become majority shareholders in the Liga MX outfit, although the statement on the club's site said all details of the deal will remain private, and a few loose ends still need to be tied up in Mexico.
Hoy la familia atlética se hace más grande. Es un honor participar en el proyecto del Atlético San Luis en México: https://t.co/MAWKHWCEsI- Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) March 16, 2017
"Atletico Madrid have made a strong push for some time to expand internationally, studying the most interesting markets and taking in part in them through international franchises such as Atletico de Kolkata in India or Racing Lens in France," the statement said.
"Within these markets the club sees Mexico as very important, so they have been working for some time on the objective of entering it through the Atletico San Luis franchise. A delegation of this club's leaders, the Payan family, came to Madrid for the Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen.
"During this visit an agreement was achieved for Atletico Madrid to become a shareholder of this sporting company, with a licence to compete in the Mexican second division. All the investments made in this project will have a private character.
"The agreement formalised this week depends upon the fulfillment of steps relating primarily with the processing of a license by the Mexican Federation, and the attainment of an agreement of the shareholders and the use of the stadium."
Atletico's international expansion began with their involvement along with other investors including ex-cricketer Sourav Ganguly in the setting-up of Atletico de Kolkata in 2014. The purchase of 34.6 percent of the French club Lens took place in July 2016.
The Kolkata franchise have won two of the first three Indian Super League trophies -- beating Kerala Blasters on penalties in the 2016 final -- while Lens are currently joint-top of the Ligue 2 standings and looking set for promotion this season.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan