Major League Soccer just recently announced that the league would be adding two more designated player spots per team. Since the inception of the original rule it has been labeled the “Beckham Rule” because it allowed MLS teams a way around the salary caps that were imposed by the league. Some of the biggest stars in Major League Soccer like David Beckham, Juan Pablo Angel, and Cuauhtemoc Blanco have been assigned as designated players. Now the MLS has taken the necessary steps to possibly open the door for some other big names to possibly ply their trade in America and increase their global brand.
Right up until the start of this season the rule would allow MLS teams to pay their designated player a higher salary than what was dictated to them by the salary cap. Each team could have the opportunity to have a player like Beckham or former English Premier League star Juan Pablo Angel in their teams without blowing their whole budget. Starting immediately with the current 2010 campaign each MLS team is allowed to sign two designated players with an option of purchasing a third spot. To purchase the third spot a team would have to pay $250,000 and that money would be divided amongst all the teams with less than three designated players. Each player to be listed as designated would count as $335,000 towards their team’s salary.
This is a good change for sports fans and the league as well. Ever since Beckham injured himself while at AC Milan there have been numerous rumours about European superstars coming to the league. Everyone from Thierry Henry to Ronaldinho have been rumored. The fact that these rumors are even happening is a good thing for MLS. Not long ago these players would not even been mentioned in the same sentence as the MLS. The league is looking for exposure and one way to get that exposure is to sign better players.
The other great thing about this new rule change is that this could potentially raise the standard of play in Major League Soccer. A player like Beckham could be paired up with Thierry Henry if he does in fact decide to make his rumored switched to Major League Soccer. It would be possible to have Juan Pablo Angel getting service from Clarence Seedorf if that transfer was to occur. Players of this caliber are brought over for two reasons. The first I mentioned before and that is exposure and increasing the awareness of the league on a global level. The second is to improve the play on the field. By increasing the product on the pitch the league would have an even greater chance to improve the their fan base at home and abroad.
Rules generally lead to rule changes. Three years ago there was no designated player rules. Then came David Beckham and a rule was enacted to allow each club a spot. Now in 2010 the rules have changed slightly to allow each team even more spots. Who knows where this rule or any others will be in another three years time? This rule signals progress and that is all any fan or the league could ask for.