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MLS buys troubled Chivas USA

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Today, MLS announced it has purchased the troubled Chivas USA franchise from Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes and will immediately assume responsibility for operating the club.

Last season, Chivas finished at the bottom of the Western Conference and 18th overall.

MLS will appoint a new interim president of Chivas USA in the near future and head Coach Wilmer Cabrera, who joined the club January 9, will continue in that position.

MLS plans to resell the club to a new ownership group committed to building a new stadium and keeping the team in Los Angeles and intends to finalize an agreement with a new group in 2014. Under the agreement, MLS will lead the discussions for a new home stadium for the team. The club has played its home games at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. since debuting in 2005 and will continue to play there in 2014.

Mr. Vergara and Ms. Fuentes retain all branding and licensing rights to the Chivas name with MLS permitted to continue using the Chivas USA brand name on a transitional basis during the 2014 MLS season. Chivas will be rebranded with a new team name and logo after sale from MLS to a new owner.

“We thank Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes for their significant commitment to Major League Soccer,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “Jorge was an early believer in the league and he and Angelica have been great partners in MLS. “We collectively agreed that it is best to sell the club to new owners who are committed to securing a new stadium and providing MLS with a strong rival for the LA Galaxy.”

Vergara was part of the original ownership group that purchased an expansion team that began play in 2005, and he and Fuentes became sole owners of the club in 2012.

“When Angelica and I gained full operational control of the team for the first time 15 months ago, we were hopeful we would be able to turn it around,” said Mr. Vergara. “However, there is only one Chivas de Guadalajara, and we have realized that it will require more time, further resources, and a level of commitment that would divert too much of our focus from our other business interests.”

Chivas USA opens the 2014 MLS season on March 9 when they host the Chicago Fire.

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