07 October 2006

Chivas for sale?

The saga of Jorge Vergara, the multi-level marketing kingpin-turned movie producer and soccer club owner, churned out an endless stream of stories last week, ranging from the possible of sale of Club Deportiva Guadalajara to a massive unpaid water bill.

Vergara bought Chivas, a wildly-popular, but badly-underperforming team, from a group of shareholders back in 2002. Not all the shareholders sold out, and now one is going after Vergara in a lawsuit, which could alter the club's ownership structure. Vergara took out full-page ads recently to state that Chivas is not for sale.

The team's training facility and athletic club in Guadalajara's Providencia neighborhood apparently is though. But in order to sell it, Vergara must deal with a five-million-peso water bill issued by SIAPA, Guadalajara's water utility.

Also going unfulfilled, Chivas' grandiose new stadium in suburban Zapopan. So far, not much has been accomplished, even though Vergara pledged back in 2002 to have the stadium completed by 2006, Chivas' 100th anniversary. The team is still selling private boxes, although according to Mural, if the stadium is not completed by the end of 2007, the money must be returned along with 25-percent interest. Another story said permits obtained from the municipality of Zapopan have lapsed.

Vergara's presence always seems to loom larger than his team - and Omnilife, his supplements empire. (The company expanded into Russia last year and just last month opened a massive new facility in suburban Guadalajara.) This saga should drag out for a while longer.

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