Jorge Vergara's time in MLS has come to an end, as the troubled franchise will be guided by the league until a new ownership group is found and the team is rebranded.Major League Soccer announced Thursday it has purchased Chivas USA from Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes. Effective immediately, MLS will assume responsibility for operating the club.
The league says it will resell the club to a new ownership group that will be committed to building a stadium and keeping the team in Los Angeles. MLS added that initial discussions with potential owners have begun, and that the league intends to finalize an agreement with a new group sometime in 2014.
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“We thank Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes for their significant commitment to Major League Soccer,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “Jorge was an early believer in the league and he and Angelica have been great partners in MLS. We collectively agreed that it is best to sell the club to new owners who are committed to securing a new stadium and providing MLS with a strong rival for the LA Galaxy.”
Vergara purchased an expansion team that began play in 2005, and the franchise has been in the midst of numerous problems over the past several years. Playing in the shadow of both the LA Galaxy, with whom Chivas shares a stadium, and big brother club Chivas de Guadalajara, has led to plummeting attendence and lack of an identity. Last year, several former employees filed lawsuits alleging discrimination by the club.
"We explored opportunities to sell to other groups, but we believe selling the franchise to MLS on an expedited basis is in the best interests of all parties, including the team’s players and its dedicated fans," Vergara said in a statement. "MLS has assured us they are committed to keeping the club in Los Angeles and finding the right owners to make the team successful in the future."