Promotion and relegation in Liga MX is no longer as straightforward as it used to be. Not every Ascenso MX team is eligible for promotion, while the relegated Liga MX team has the opportunity to remain in the first division.
The Ascenso MX champion will move up to Liga MX only if they meet the requirements, including economic stability and transparency, proper infrastructure, and the ability to field U-20, U-17, U-15, U-13, and Liga MX Femenil teams from their first season in Liga MX.
Should the Ascenso MX champion not be one of those certified for promotion, the Liga MX team that was relegated will have the option to stay in the first division for 120 million pesos (about $6.5 million U.S.), which will be distributed as follows:
- 60 million pesos (about $3.25 million U.S.) will be given to the Ascenso MX champion to be invested in the improvements required to obtain certification for promotion
- 60 million pesos (about $3.25 million U.S.) will be deposited with Liga MX for developing and carrying out various projects aimed at raising the quality of the league
This process was illustrated first-hand at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season: the Ascenso MX champion, Cafetaleros de Tapachula, was not eligible for promotion, while the relegated Liga MX team, Lobos BUAP, paid the required 120 million pesos to remain in the first division.
If the relegated Liga MX team decides not to take that option, does not meet the rest of the applicable requirements, or if it would put their financial stability at risk, the Certificate of Affiliation for the 18th Liga MX team will be deposited with the league and the 120 million pesos will be provided by the remaining 17 teams in the league to be distributed in the previously mentioned manner.
If the Ascenso MX champion isn’t eligible for promotion and the relegated Liga MX team cannot or does not meet the requirements to remain in the first division, Liga MX will play with only 17 teams in the following season.
For the 2018-19 season, nine Ascenso MX teams are eligible for promotion: Mineros de Zacatecas, Dorados de Sinaloa, Leones Negros, Atlético Zacatepec, Alebrijes de Oaxaca, TM Fútbol, Atlético San Luis, FC Juárez, and Cimarrones de Sonora.