Mexican league soccer owners voted Friday to suspend relegation and promotion between the country’s top two divisions for five years, citing economic problems for the second division that have been aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mexican FA

Liga MX President Enrique Bonilla, making his first public appearance since announcing March 20 he had tested positive for COVID-19, also said during the online news conference that the current season of the second division, known as Ascenso MX, would be canceled. The two divisions were suspended March 15.

”Given that the financial crisis expanded the problems for the division, several current projects (clubs) are close to bankruptcy and in danger of disappearing,” Bonilla said.

The owners of the 18 Liga MX franchises voted remotely, days after the second-division Ascenso MX clubs approved the suspension. Each Ascenso MX team will receive $845,000 a year for the five seasons.

It will be the first time since the 1951-52 season that no teams will be move between the divisions.

Bonilla confirmed the cancellation of Ascenso MX’s 2020 Clausura. For the coming season, the 12 second-division clubs will form a developmental league.