Plans to combine the United States’ Major League Soccer (MLS) with Mexico’s Liga MX in order to create a North American soccer league have been discussed, according to the president of the latter.
Speaking in London at the Leaders Sport Business Summit, Enrique Bonilla explained how a merger between the countries’ top divisions could be viewed as a lasting legacy of the 2026 Fifa World Cup, which Mexico and the US will co-host alongside Canada.
Bonilla said of the plausibility of a merger: “It's a possibility, a North American league. We have to determine how and see the pros and cons but I think that's a way to grow and to compete again.
“If we can make a World Cup then we can make a North American league or a North American cup. The main idea is that we have to grow together to compete. If not, there is only going to be the rich guys in Europe and the rest of the world.”
US broadcast network CBS Sports approached MLS for a response to Bonilla’s comments, with the league’s executive vice president of communications Dan Courtemanche highlighting the collaboration that has already occurred between the leagues. He said: “In March, Major League Soccer entered into a formal partnership with Liga MX.
“We have been discussing with Liga MX additional ways we can collaborate on and off the field, and we are excited about the future opportunities that exist between our two leagues."
He added that the Campeones Cup – a one-off fixture between the winners of the previous MLS and Liga MX seasons – took place for the first time in September, with Mexican side Tigres beating Toronto FC.
However, the logistics of any future union of the two leagues appear to be a complicated matter. Liga MX, which comprises 18 clubs, remains the most watched league in the US.
Meanwhile, MLS currently features 23 teams – three of which are based in Canada, with FC Cincinnati due to become the 24th in 2019, and David Beckham’s Inter Miami FC joining in 2020, as well as an as yet unnamed Nashville franchise.