The Mexican first division’s multi-ownership rules were once again put under the spotlight on Monday after TV Azteca – which already owns Monarcas Morelia – bought Guadalajara-based Atlas.
The club, which was laden with debt, was bought for around 38 million U.S. dollars plus taxes, according to local media reports, although there has been no official word on the fee.
“It is a historic night, our commitment is to the fans,” club president Eugenio Ruiz Orozco told reporters at the club’s training ground. “Guadalajara is more important with Atlas.”
The sale came somewhat as a surprise despite Atlas being on the market, with the club’s previous 124 owners seemingly split on whether they should sell or not, despite years of failure at an institution whose only league title came back in 1951.
Atlas may be in better hands in terms of fighting the relegation battle that awaits next season with the financially strong media organization behind them, but the sale apparently breaks Mexico’s recently-introduced multi-ownership rules.
In May this year, Liga MX president Decio de Maria announced that multi-ownership would be ended in Mexico’s first division within five years.
One of the points of the meeting indicated: “During the next five years no owner can increase the amounts of teams they have today.”
Atlas has one of the most feted youth academies in the Liga MX, with players like Rafa Marquez, Andres Guardado, Oswaldo Sanchez and Pavel Pardo coming out of it.
Los Rojinegros play in the 1970 and 1986 World Cup venue Estadio Jalisco and have a strong local fan base known as La Fiel – The Faithful – because of continuing loyal support despite the lack of trophies.