MLS opens door for more big names
Major League Soccer (MLS) has cleared the way for more big-name signings by extending its "Beckham Rule" with immediate effect.
The Designated Player Rule was a mechanism introduced in 2007 to allow an individual club to pay one player any salary above the mandated fixed salary cap.
England star David Beckham became the first Designated Player when he signed for the Los Angeles Galaxy from Real Madrid and others, including Mexico's Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Sweden's Freddie Ljungberg and Juan Pablo Angel of Colomia have since followed suit.
MLS clubs were able to trade with other clubs for a second Designated Player but the latest decision allows them to sign at least two Designated Players with the option of "purchasing" a third Designated Player slot for 250,000 USD.
"Expanding the Designated Player Rule is another example of MLS's commitment to providing top-level soccer for our fans," MLS executive vice president of player relations and competition Todd Durbin said.
"After three seasons, we have seen that the Designated Player Rule improves the quality of play, creates intrigue and discussion, and enhances our clubs' distinct on-field identities," he went on. "We will continue to see varied approaches from our clubs in assembling their rosters, and these changes will give them increased flexibility."
Under the rules, 335,000 USD of the each Designated Player's salary counts towards a club's salary cap, down from 415,000 USD under the old agreement, a figure that accounted for approximately 18 per cent of that budget. The new rules reduce that budget charge to approximately 13 per cent.