Veracruz is no more.
After a tumultuous several years that came to a head in this fall's Apertura, authorities booted the Atlantic Coast club from the league Friday.
Players accused owner Fidel Kuri of not paying their salaries, with the club already owing past players a significant sum of money heading into this season. The issue came to a head when the players stood still for the first several minutes of a match against Tigres in October.
In addition to off-field struggles, Veracruz narrowly avoided the world's longest winless streak this year with the team falling short in 41 consecutive matches before topping Puebla, 1-0, in the 16th week of the Apertura.
The league seemed to have enough, barring Kuri from Tuesday's meeting of owners but reiterating the fate of the club would be in the hands of the Mexican federation, the Federacion Mexicana de Futbol. The governing body passed down its verdict Friday, disaffiliating Veracruz from the league.
"The General Extraordinary Assembly of the FMF, on the fourth day of December of the current year, unanimously agreed to revoke the Certificate of Affiliation and, as consequence, disaffiliate from all categories the Promotora Deportiva del Valle de Orizaba, A.C. takes part in (Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz y/o Club Veracruz) as well as Mr. Fidel Kuri Grajales," an FMF statement released Friday morning read.
"Club Veracruz was notified of this agreement in official form today."
Kuri and the club will not be surprised to hear the decision and while the the 57-year-old is threatening legal action, it seems unlikely the Tiburones Rojos will return to Mexican football with the politician involved in any way.
The club's trademarks, however, are owned by the state, leaving many fans to hope that a new ownership group will come in to resurrect the "Red Sharks" and put a team in the Estadio Luis "Pirata" Fuente.
The club's players are now free agents, with those still owed money by Kuri able to take him to a civil court. While many players began to leave toward the end of the season, there are still 21 first-division players listed on the league's website, plus an additional 60 in the academy. Friday's decision also will affect the third-division Albinegros de Orizaba, which also were owned by Kuri's group.
The upcoming Liga MX Clausura will be played with 18 teams, with each club playing a match each week. The Apertura was played with 19 teams and each club having one bye week as the league pushes to expand the first division to 20 teams. As those efforts continue, no team will be relegated this tournament, with Veracruz functioning as the relegated club.
The team would have been relegated in the spring were it not for a quirk in the rules inserted by Liga MX club owners allowing relegated teams to pay a fee and buy their way back in the first division.
They accepted Kuri's money at the time, but Mexican football authorities have finally decided his money is no good in Mexican soccer any longer.