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Liga MX to announce 'binational' tournament

Liga MX will announce a "binational" tournament "in coming weeks," according to a statement from the league at the club owners' meeting on Monday.

The tournament is expected to match up clubs from Mexico's top-flight division with Major League Soccer sides, which ESPN initially reported back in February

ESPN Mexico has previously reported that the teams that will be involved are Cruz Azul, Tigres, Xolos and America from Liga MX and Chicago Fire, Real Salt Lake, Houston Dynamo and the LA Galaxy from the United States, although neither the teams nor the format have been confirmed.

Last year, Tigres UANL beat hosts Toronto FC in the inaugural Campeones Cup. This year's edition will be held in Atlanta in August although no date was specified. 

Liga MX also announced that  it will expand to 19 sides from 18 after relegated side Veracruz paid a $6 million penalty to keep its first division spot. Atletico San Luis -- owned by Spanish giant Atletico Madrid -- won promotion after winning back-to-back Ascenso MX titles. 

Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla had previously indicated that the goal is to expand Liga MX to 20 teams in the future, but for next season the odd number of teams means one will sit out each round of matches. 

In other announcements, Orlegi Sports is the new owner of Liga MX club Atlas and will have "total control" over decision-making at the club, after buying a majority stake from TV Azteca. Orlegi Sports also owns Santos Laguna and has made it one of the most successful clubs in Mexico in recent years, although Atlas are involved in a relegation scrap next season and are without a league title since 1951. 

New rules for transfers and contracts ahead of the 2019-20 season were also approved, although the details weren't announced. The players' association had been pushing for freedom of contract for the players, which isn't always respected in Mexico.

The owners also announced there will be one Copa MX champion per year. The group stage will take place in the first half of the season and the knockouts in the second half, with the final on April 14 or 15.

In Liga MX Femenil, the group format will disappear and each team will be allowed to field six players older than the Under-25 age group and six U.S.-Mexico dual citizens. Previously only players born in Mexico could feature in Liga MX Femenil. The 2019 Apertura for both the men's and women's leagues will get underway July 19.


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