MLS Buys Chivas USA
Major League Soccer announced in a press release Thursday that it will assume complete ownership of the Chivas USA organization until a suitable new owner is found to purchase the club.
Now former club owners Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes will continue to own the Chivas USA brand and licensing rights. The club will play under the Chivas USA name for the 2014 season. Afterwards, the team will go under a rebranding process with a new team name and logo.
"We have realized that [Chivas USA] will require more time, further resources, and a level of commitment that would divert too much of our focus from our other business interests," Vergara announced. "We explored opportunities to sell to other groups, but we believe selling the franchise to MLS on an expedited basis is in the best interests of all parties, including the team’s players and its dedicated fans."
The Chivas USA franchise has a troubled history with the relationship between ownership and employees. In July of 2013, HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel released an investigative report that exposed racism on the part of the club's ownership towards employees and players.
The report revealed a "Mexican-only" policy that was enforced in the office and on the field that led to a lawsuit in 2013 by a former executive who claimed that they faced discrimination because she is not Mexican and does not speak Spanish. Former players claimed that they were traded because they were not Mexican and therefore not suited for the culture the club's ownership was attempting to establish.
Rumors of rebranding Chivas USA surfaced a few days ago when the US Patent and Trademark Office received applications for logos.
MLS will seek new ownership that is committed to building a new stadium and keeping the club in the Los Angeles area.
Chivas USA will begin their 2014 campaign on March 9 when they play the Chicago Fire in their current home, Stub Hub Center in Carson, Calif.