Football: MLS buys Chivas USA, plans to keep club in LA

NEW YORK (AFP) - Major League Soccer (MLS) has purchased Chivas USA and will operate the team this season while trying to sell the club, with the aim of keeping it in Los Angeles.

MLS announced on Thursday it was buying the club from owners Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes, who will retain rights to the Chivas brand after its use this year on a transitional basis.

The team, which shares a home pitch with the Los Angeles Galaxy, will be operated by the league with new owners envisioned who will build a new stadium for the team, which will be rebranded with a new name after the 2014 campaign.

"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 Galaxy," MLS commissioner Don Garber said.

MLS said in a statement that the league has had initial talks with several qualified potential owners and plans to strike a deal this year with one of them.

MLS will name a new team president to operate the club until a new owner emerges while Wilmer Cabrera, named coach last month, will remain in his post for the season, which opens March 9.

Vergara said making a winner out of Chivas USA, which has endured four consecutive seasons without reaching the playoffs, was simply too mighty a task for his group.

"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," Vergara said.

"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."

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