MLS Rule Breakers

There are many unique roster rules and procedures with which MLS teams have to deal with that no other clubs around the world do. While every league has their own set of guidelines, MLS has a salary cap with numerous mechanisms in place for teams that teams can utilise to bolster their roster. However, they can be complicated and do require plenty of research. Inter Miami apparently decided it wasn’t worth doing the homework.

After an MLS investigation into the club’s acquisition of French midfielder Blaise Matuidi, the league determined that Inter Miami had violated roster designation rules for both Matuidi and Andrés Reyes. MLS also found that the team didn’t disclose agreements that ultimately led to underreported salaries for three players – Leandro González Pirez, Nicolás Figal and Julián Carranza.

Matuidi arrived in Miami last August with the team using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) to sign the veteran. By using TAM, a team can ‘buy-down’ a player’s salary so that his hit against the cap would be less and a Designated Player spot would not be taken up. However, the league determined that Matuidi should have been classified as a DP.

As a result of their findings, David Beckham’s club will have their allocation dollars reduced in 2022 and 2023 by $2,271,500. Beckham escaped any punishment but managing owner Jorge Mas was slapped with a $250,000 fine.

“The integrity of our rules is sacrosanct, and it is a fundamental principle of our league that our clubs are responsible for adhering to all league regulations,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “Our rules will not be compromised. These sanctions reflect the severity of Inter Miami’s violations, should encourage complete cooperation by all parties in future investigations, and will serve as a deterrent for clubs from violating roster rules.”

The entire situation is an embarrassing one for both the league and the club. MLS allowed an expansion team to circumvent their rules and compromise their competition, while the club has earned an early reputation as one willing to do whatever they want.

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Story by Marco D’Onofrio, Soccer 360 Magazine

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