Inter Miami Receives File MLS of $ 2M, a $ 2.2M cap for Designated Playersated offers

Major League Soccer has fined Inter Miami CF $ 2 million for violating the league’s salary budget and roster regulations – the toughest in MLS history.

Along with the $ 2 million fine to the club, MLS imposed a $ 2,271,250 reduction in allotment funds, spread over the 2022 and 2023 seasons. With a total of $ 19.155 million for these two campaigns, that is Fine for assigning 11.9% of Inter Miami’s salary budget during that time.

The league also imposed a personal fine of $ 250,000 on Inter Miami’s executive owner, Jorge Mas.

MLS announced in March that it would investigate midfielder Blaise Matuidi’s signing to see if the league’s salary budget and roster guidelines are met.

The investigation revealed violations of the player categorization of Matuidi and former Miami defender Andres Reyes, as well as the inadequate disclosure of salary budgets for the players Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Nicolas Figal and Julian Carranza. None of the Inter Miami players has been investigated, committed or been aware of the infringement.

While the fines are substantial, the fine for the allocation will be a heavy blow to Inter Miami and should seriously affect the team’s ability to build a competitive squad.

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The fines eclipse the previous record fine of $ 150,000 imposed in 2015 on Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen for his comments on the ongoing CBA negotiations.

Additionally, former Miami Sporting Director / COO Paul McDonough, who held the job in 2020 before taking on a position as Sporting Director at Atlanta United FC that season, has been suspended from the league until the 2022 season. He was then released from Atlanta.

“The integrity of our rules is inviolable and it is a fundamental principle of our league that our clubs are responsible for compliance with all league regulations,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber. “Our rules will not be compromised. These sanctions reflect the gravity of Inter Miami’s violations, should encourage full cooperation between all parties in future investigations and will deter clubs from violating the squad rules.”

Inter Miami has been fined a record MLS $ 2 million fine and a $ 2.2 million grant cut. Photo by Marco Bello / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a statement, Mas said: “Inter Miami CF recognize that the club violated Major League Soccer squad rules in our first season.

“We have worked closely with MLS to address these issues and have made significant changes to our governance structure. After our opening season, we took a close look at our management group in football operations and made decisions that not only strengthened our internal measures to ensure compliance with the squad, but also with the appointment of Chris Henderson as Chief Soccer Officer and Sports Director in 2021 better positioned to build a sustainable, long-term competitive strategy.

“Inter Miami is an ambitious club with great ambitions. We believe that our fan base, market and ownership group make us one of the most followed soccer teams in North America in the world. We are committed to supporting our team and building the squad that we are. ” proud of.”

A source familiar with the situation said the league is also asking Inter Miami to develop a plan to ensure compliance with the league’s salary budget rules. This plan should be handed over to MLS by Monday.

MLS has long used a salary budget to limit the cost of player compensation. These amounts are collectively negotiated with the MLS Players Association. The total allowable amount for 2020 is $ 9.225 million, increasing to $ 9.325 in 2022 and then to $ 9.83 million in 2023. The majority of Designated Player salaries do not count towards the salary budget, however the teams are limited to three DPs per season.

The league announced its investigation into Inter Miami back in March and announced that Matuidi’s total compensation should have classified him as a designated player. The investigation found that this was because, in addition to signing the contract, Matuidi signed a marketing agreement that added to his total compensation. Such agreements are not uncommon, but the MLS rules state that such agreements must be reported to MLS and approved by MLS to ensure compliance with the salary budget. This notification / approval was not carried out. When the club signed striker Gonzalo Higuain later in the season, it essentially gave Miami four DPs, one more than the rules allow.

The investigation found that this was by no means the only violation. On top of that, the total compensation for Reyes – who was on loan from Colombia’s Atletico Nacional at the time – also put him in the Designated Player category, which means Miami actually did part of 2020 with five DPs. Reyes is now with the New York Red Bulls.

The league’s investigation also found that the pay budgets for Gonzalez Pirez, Figal and Carranza were also underreported, giving Miami another edge over other teams in the league.

When the investigation began, a source familiar with the League’s mindset told ESPN that McDonough was not a target. The source clarified that the situation changed as more information became available. McDonough can apply to the commissioner’s office for reinstatement as early as March 1, 2022.

Mas’ fine came about because he had ultimate authority over player contracts. MLS added that minority owners Masayoshi Son, chairman Marcelo Claure and current football operation president David Beckham have not been sanctioned as the investigation found they were not involved in efforts to hide actual salary budgets from the league.

“As the managing owner of Inter Miami, Mas has approved all player-related agreements and transactions,” the league’s statement said. “Ultimately, he was responsible for ensuring that Inter Miami had sufficient controls and logs to ensure compliance with MLS rules. While Mas was cooperative with the league’s investigation, and the league’s investigators focused on critical information about undisclosed player-related agreements drew attention, investigators found that he did not disclose his knowledge of the Matuidi violation at the time required by MLS rules. “

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