Liga MX club Morelia will be playing in Mazatlan next season, with the Monarcas ownership formally asking the Mexican league to sanction the change.
The move to the Pacific Coast city has long been rumored and Mazatlan boasts a new stadium, although fans in Morelia have protested in recent weeks, with the city now left without a soccer team.
“[Morelia] has started the paperwork with the Mexican football federation and Liga MX to change the site to Mazatlan, Sinaloa,” read a club statement. “For the first time in history, top flight football will come to Mazatlan, one of the most important ports in Latin America, with an innovative project that will look to impulse the untiring spirit of sinaloenses.”
Liga MX confirmed that it received a formal petition for a change of location for the club on Tuesday.
The ownership group thanked the people of Morelia and the state of Michoacan for hosting the club, indicating that changes of location for sports franchises are part of the game.
“The changes of site have happened in different clubs and professional teams all over the world, they are a natural part of all sport,” continued the statement. “The move to Mazatlan, although difficult, brings viability over the long term to an organization committed to the sport.”
Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla has previously praised the potential of Mazatlan, which is considered a vacation destination and hit worldwide headlines when drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was captured in the city in 2014.
“[The Mazatlan] stadium will have everything necessary so that fans not only can see football there, but other entertainment with high levels of security,” Bonilla told TUDN last month. “It will be nice if a Liga MX team or second division team sets up there.”
The name of the new team in Mazatlan has yet to be announced, although reports have surfaced indicating it will be Mazatlan FC.
Players were informed that the move was to happen on Monday in a call, according to ESPN sources, and they are expected to move to the Pacific Coast over the coming weeks.
The Monarcas Femenil players have been left in the dark, with goalkeeper Diane Garcia explaining on Instagram that they hadn’t been informed of developments and many of their contracts ended at the end of May.
It’s not the first time Liga MX clubs have changed location, with Necaxa moving to Aguascalientes and Atlante to Cancun. Both clubs were founded in Mexico City.
The Liga MX 2020 Clausura season was canceled on May 22, with ESPN sources indicating that the 2020 Apertura is penciled in to start on July 17, although the date is still flexible depending on the government and spread of COVID-19.