'Rebel' Mexican league open to accepting Ascenso MX clubs after pro/rel decision
MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's "rebel" Liga de Balompie Nacional (LBN) is hoping to start up in September and is open to receiving teams from the country's second division, with promotion to Liga MX suspended for five years.
The new league was announced back in January in a press conference which included Mexico legends Carlos Salcido and Ramon Morales.
Victor Manuel Montiel, president of the LBN, told ESPN that the league isn't actively seeking out Ascenso MX clubs that are disgruntled at the suspension of pro/rel, but that it is "open to receiving them if they want to come."
"We are waiting to see what will happen with them in their [second] division," said Montiel. "That's why we are not releasing names [of potential clubs] out of respect because they need to know if the Ascenso MX will disappear or not. There is a Plan B for them, meanwhile we'll continue to work with what we have got."
There has been a backlash against the suspension of pro/rel in Liga MX, with reigning Ascenso MX champion Alebrijes de Oaxaca registering its discontent on Wednesday, indicating its "goal" of promotion had been "truncated."
At present, four teams -- Ensenada, Jaguares, Industriales and Chapulineros -- have been confirmed to participate in the Liga de Balompie Nacional, with 16 other teams in the process of registering. The vast majority of teams are from towns or cities that don't currently have a Liga MX or Ascenso MX team, like Acapulco, Irapuato and Nezahaulcoyotl.
The players are likely to come from different sources, but mainly locally.
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"We are looking to capture players from the state or municipality [of each club] and hope they become the production center for teams, without losing the focus that we are going to attract players that don't [currently] have work in Mexican football," said Montiel, a former player.
The status of Mexico's official second division is currently unknown, with reports that there could be age and foreigner restrictions imposed, which could leave older players looking for new opportunities.
The Liga de Balompie Nacional is also close to sealing a TV deal, according to Montiel, and will restrict each club to three foreign players on the field at any given time. The plan is to have three leagues, with full promotion and relegation, but the Liga de Balompie Nacional will only look to be recognized by the Mexican federation (FMF) when it is up and running.
"Getting recognized [by the FMF] is of interest to us," said Montiel. "Our first objective was to be independent and then to have three divisions, but we want to be recognized and we will look to be once the league gets underway."
Former Mexico international Ramon Ramirez was confirmed as the sporting director of Ensenada FC on Wednesday.