Breaking: Mexican Ownership Group Purchases York United FC
The Canadian Premier League had been hoping to unveil the owners of York United – touted as ‘world-class’ by the league’s own commissioner – at the end of the month.
A breaking story from The Athletic reveals that the club has been purchased by Game Plan Sports, a group of investors who – as we spoke on last month – have strong ties to Mexico and its top flight league.
York United’s original owners, the Baldassarra family, had opted to sell York United to Canada Soccer Business earlier this year. The CSB bet on themselves to find a strong new ownership group for the club, and has moved quickly to sell them to high-potential investors.
The ownership group is comprised of the Pasquel brothers Eduardo, Miguel, and Ricardo, and they have extensive family ties to Mexican soccer and Liga MX specifically. The report from The Athletic noted that their uncle Alejandro Orvananos was president of Club America, while their father had served as the Mexican Football Federation’s General Secretary and CFO. Their grandfathers had also owned sporting teams before, including Liga MX side Club Necaxa.
While past club president Angus McNab was largely based in New York during his tenure with the club, Ricardo – who will be he new President and General Manager – will relocate to Toronto to help with day-to-day operations. So ill his brothers, with Eduardo set to be named CEO and Miguel the chief commercial officer.
The trio of brothers reportedly first expressed interest this May, visiting Toronto to get a grasp on what has been a largely untapped market for the Canadian Premier League – in fact, the commissioner believes that there’s enough market share to eventually support multiple CPL sides, though York United failed to make a dent under previous ownership.
The Pasquel brothers believe that there is a financially viable path for the Nine Stripes, and so did multiple other ownership groups who had presented bids to Canada Soccer Business. While the figures of the final deal aren’t known, Joshua Kloke reports that it is the highest fee paid for the club in league history, though there isn’t much to compare it to.
The league had made it clear that they would only sell under the right conditions for success, with negotiations moving forward after Mexico Football Federation secretary general Inigo Riestra called CPL commissioner Mark Noonan to vouch for the group, prompting discussions and credibility checks to progress.
Another factor that encouraged the sale was the Pasquel brothers’ ties to FEMSA, a beverage and retail mega-corporation that owns CF Monterrey. Their ties to that organization could allow York United to have a preseason in Mexico, just like how Atletico Ottawa trains in Madrid ahead of each CPL season.
York United would become the second foreign-owned club after the aforementioned capital city club, who have had more success in league play by virtue of both a regular season win and reaching the CPL finals last year.
As per The Athletic, there’s even talk about tournaments with multiple CPL teams in Mexico to extend their season in the future, while forging relationships with Mexican sides could pave way for further loan deals – both ways – for CPL club rosters and domestic talent.
Game Plan Sports will also continue the search for a permanent home ground, with the Woodbine Entertainment complex still remaining a possibility. For now, however, York Lions Stadium will continue to be the club’s home ground, with the Pasquel brother using 2024 to search for a better venue solution.
The Canadian Premier League has not yet commented on or confirmed the breaking news.
Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques