Carlos Slim has suffered a blow in his efforts to grow his football empire after the owners of Mexico’s 18 Liga MX clubs voted in favour of a proposal to ban one person or company from owning more than one team.
Multi-billionaire business magnate Slim’s telecommunications company, América Móvil, acquired a 30% stake in Grupo Pachuca, which owns Liga MX clubs León and Pachuca, in September 2012. The deals gave Slim control over the clubs’ domestic and international broadcasting rights. In December, he bought all the shares of second tier team Estudiantes Tecos and has recently dismissed reports that he is interested in acquiring Liga MX giant Chivas del Guadalajara.
The vote has been interpreted as a means of preventing Slim from expanding his influence in the Mexican game. América Móvil’s rivals Televisa and TV Azteca have previously owned multiple top-tier clubs, but the issue of multi-team ownership had not been discussed until Slim’s entry into the market in September. The Associated Press reported that Mexican Soccer League president Decio de Maria would not comment on the decision except to say the consensus was to ban multi-ownership. “I think it’s always time to analyse where you stand, and where you are going especially,” said De Maria. “Being able to make decisions unanimously is critical for the league.”
Monday’s ruling will not require Slim to sell one of his current Liga MX teams, but it will prevent him from acquiring any more. TV Azteca currently owns two teams, the Jaguares and Morelia, but is reportedly interested in selling the former. Televisa currently owns just one team, America.