Mexico's second division has canceled its 2020 Clausura season due to economic losses caused by the ongoing coronavirus crisis, with the possibility of pro/rel between the country's top two divisions also now in doubt, according to ESPN Mexico sources.
The 12-club Ascenso MX has suffered in recent years and the vote by club owners, via videoconference, to cancel the season is another blow to a league that boasted 18 teams in 2017. The Ascenso MX season had been suspended from March 16.
The pro/rel system in Mexico has come under review with promotion becoming more difficult to attain due to a quasi-franchise model that dictates second division clubs need to be certified by Liga MX to qualify for promotion.
Some Liga MX club owners have leaned towards closing up the league at 20 teams and converting the second division into a developmental league, with ESPN Mexico sources indicating that it is now close to becoming a reality.
Reports suggest that a development league would have age and foreign player limits in place in order to develop home-grown talent, although teams couldn't win promotion.
The move to potentially end pro/rel will also fuel speculation of further Liga MX and Major League Soccer integration. Both MLS and Liga MX have stressed that the path to a joint league is a tough one, but neither have shied away from the idea of a North American super-league.
Liga MX and MLS currently play the Campeones Cup, Leagues Cup and an All-Stars game is scheduled for July, although that may now depend on the situation regarding coronavirus.
Mexico legend Rafa Marquez said in a recent ESPN interview that ending promotion "takes out the soul" of the clubs in the second division.