MLS expands designated player rule

MLS teams can now have up to three DPs

NEW YORK — Fans
who dream of watching the likes of Thierry Henry, Raúl and Ronaldinho
on an MLS field at the same time can wake up. That dream is closer to
being a reality.

MLS announced on Thursday morning an update of
the Designated Player rule to allow every MLS club to sign two DPs.
Teams will also have the option to purchase a third DP slot.

In
a mechanism that works similar to a luxury tax in other professional
sports, an MLS team seeking a third DP slot would be required to pay
$250,000 that would be evenly shared as allocation money with all the
other MLS clubs that do not have three DPs.

The Designated
Player rule, popularly referred to as the “Beckham Rule," was first
introduced in 2007. It allowed MLS teams to pay a “designated” player
above the club’s league designated salary budget.

Each DP player
signing will now count as $335,000 toward a team’s salary budget and
$167,500 if the DP is signed midseason. According to the league, the
$335,000 figure represents approximately 13 percent of a team’s salary
budget. Previously, teams were charged $415,000 against the salary
budget for the first DP. A team can also use its allocation money to
bring that salary budget hit down to just $150,000.

MLS confirmed that these new rules will be effective immediately.

It is worth noting that DP slots cannot be traded between teams, nor can a team acquire a fourth slot or more.

Also, DP slots can be used to sign existing MLS players.

According
to the league, the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan will count as a DP while New
York will be compensated with $70,000 of allocation money for the
second DP slot the club acquired two years ago.

It all seems
like a mathematical and administrative nightmare at this point—though
no worse than any other professional league's roster rules, to be
fair—but it should make a few dreams come true for fans.