MLS Changes Unveiled Today

MLS Changes Unveiled Today

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On December 18, 2007
  • 2 Comments

The MLS sent out their changes for next year, most of stuff you all have read on here or other sites. I won’t post the entire thing, but I will give quotes here and there from the entire document that was passed along to me in my inbox that was dicussed in a phone interview with deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis. (Phone interview via Steve Goff)

A few good things for the league here. Stuff that needed to be done is now taken care of. I found it interesting, as I am sure some of you will, that Goff posed questions about the league helping out the Galaxy here in some of these moves. You be the judge for yourself.

Anyways, on to the changes:

~~ MLS has gotten rid the distinction between senior internationals and youth internationals, and provided each club with an additional foreign player slot (eight total). What we did not know until today was that those foreign slots can be traded, so if, say, FC Dallas have reached the eight-player limit, they can deal for another one and fill it as they see fit.

But, if I recall teams could do this before but no one ever really talked about it (I recall Dallas trading with Colorado a couple years ago for a youth international spot…I could be wrong though).

~~ Toronto will receive two extra foreign-player slots (10 total), but both would have to be filled by U.S. players.

A move that honestly makes sense to me. The Reds got kinda screwed last year in terms of getting players and what not, this will help.

~~ Teams no longer will retain 12-month rights to players they have just waived. Effective immediately, waived players can be claimed by any other club without compensation.

Another move that just makes sense in my eyes…

~~ The allocated order and rules have been clarified a bit more, with San Jose, Toronto, RSL, Los Angeles and Columbus at the top of the list. Keep in mind, though, the allocation order is only relevant when two or more clubs claim the same allocation-eligible player (ie: a US player returning from Europe) on the same day.

Allocation is still a sticky subject in my mind, but the league is slowly going away from it I think.

~~ The league finds it impossible to avoid scheduling MLS games on international fixture dates, which will become more important this year as the U.S. national team prepares to play as many as eight World Cup qualifiers.

“It is an impossible scheduling task. We have our MLS schedule, international fixture dates, U.S. Open Cup, international competition, CONCACAF is looking at an expanded Champions League, we have SuperLiga, television commitments (Thursday night on ESPN). …It’s going to be very, very challenging for us to be able to avoid those fixture dates.”

~~ The three grandfathered designated players – Eddie Johnson, Landon Donovan and Carlos Ruiz – will retain that status for not just this coming season, but for 2009 as well. However, in a change, the amount of salary beyond the league’s responsibility (which is about $400k) will now be paid by the individual clubs. No longer will MLS cover those players’ entire salaries. Essentially, they are being treated as designated players, but without the DP-per-club limitations.

“There was a concern that the teams that had high-salaried players, if they were able to sign more high-salaried players [under the DP rule], might be competitively at an advantage over teams that didn’t have those type of high-salaried players. What we tried to do in order to [alleviate] that second concern was to set the salary budget charge [salary cap] of the high-salaried players at a level that would mean effectively their introduction as well as the designated players didn’t have a competitive, unbalancing of the league.”

“…At the end of our experience in 2007, the board looked at it again and the concerns that there would be a competitive imbalance had receded somewhat. Both of the teams in the MLS Cup final did not have designated players or high-salaried players. Those teams that had pre-existing, high-salaried players were saying, ‘Why is it that we have to give up value if there is no competitive imbalance in the league?’ The board considered that and ultimately agreed with it.”

On the subject of the possible trade between Dallas and LA for Carlos Ruiz:

“I think it would be possible [to have, say, Ruiz, Donovan and Beckham]. The competitive balancing act here is done by the salary budget charge [the salary cap]. So how tradeable these players are depends on how big their contribution is against that salary budget charge. … These guys just do not count as designated players. They are like every other player in every competitive respect. In the financial respect, they are different because the teams bearing their salary have got the charge. “

Very interesting quote if you ask me…

On the subject of the league bending over for the Galaxy:

“There are always going to be accusations of favoritism. From the Galaxy’s perspective, they were being penalized. They didn’t know that when Landon Donovan was being signed from Bayer Leverkusen and they took him on their roster and gave up Carlos Ruiz that not only was that going to eat up a big chunk of salary cap room for them, they were also going to have to trade in order to keep him on their roster. I accept that, in a competitive environment, people are always going to have theories about favorites, but there is another side to that argument or equation.”

Uh-huh…sure….

Thanks again to the wonderful Steve Goff for posting this. What do you all make of these changes? Anything strike you as a good/bad move for the league?

  • Jeff Bull

    I'm really happy, personally, that they got rid of one of the most player-hating rules on the books: changing the way the league treats waived players was super-cool. (The developmental salary is the most player-hating rule…that'll take some doing). Everything else – foreign players, DP BS, the scheduling mess – doesn't move me much in any particular direction; it strikes me as de facto status quo ante (ipso facto…and more Latin phrases).

  • I’m really happy, personally, that they got rid of one of the most player-hating rules on the books: changing the way the league treats waived players was super-cool. (The developmental salary is the most player-hating rule…that’ll take some doing). Everything else – foreign players, DP BS, the scheduling mess – doesn’t move me much in any particular direction; it strikes me as de facto status quo ante (ipso facto…and more Latin phrases).