Players' rights, who owns them?

Discussion in 'MLS: General' started by parismatch, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. parismatch

    parismatch Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    Mexico City
    Club:
    CD Chivas de Guadalajara
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    I got confused by a couple of Grant Wahl's twits:

    1. "1 thing I learned today about Hérculez Gómez: His MLS rights are still owned by Kansas City."

    2. "MLS como liga es empresa de caballeros--una sola entidad con reglas que limitan competición para jugadores." (MLS as a league is an enterprise of gentlemen--one entity with rules that limit competition for players.)

    The second twit was a response to a question posed by Elmour Souza, a reporter for TVC Deportes, who couldn't understand why KC still held HG's rights, unless there was some kind of "Gentlemen's agreement", like the one in place in Mexican Primera.

    So, my question is, is there really such agreement in MLS? Do teams really own their players' rights? Any info to clarify this issue would be greatly appreciated.

    PS Sorry to open a new thread, I just couldn't find this info easily available in the forum. If it is available, and I somehow missed it, please direct me to it and close the thread.
     
  2. LongDuckDong

    LongDuckDong Member+

    Jan 26, 2011
    Club:
    FC Schalke 04
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No, the league owns the players contracts. Teams own players' "MLS rights."
     
  3. parismatch

    parismatch Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    Mexico City
    Club:
    CD Chivas de Guadalajara
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    Right, which is more or less what the Mexican "Gentlemen's agreement" is all about. Isn't this against FIFA formal rules though?
     
  4. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No, because in the eyes of the law (and FIFA I believe) MLS is one entity, due to the single-entity structure. How MLS chooses to distribute its employees to its various divisions (teams) is an internal matter.

    There is no player employer called Sporting Kansas City. There's Major League Soccer that all the players work for and are registered with.
     
  5. parismatch

    parismatch Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    Mexico City
    Club:
    CD Chivas de Guadalajara
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    Well, yes, I guess that is why it is a "gentlemen's agreement": it is not written anywhere. Yet, if I'm interpreting Wahl's twits correctly, it seems that MLS teams can somehow excercise "rights" over players, beyond their contractual agreement. In other words, Gomez currently has no contract obligations with KC but the team still owns his "MLS Rights". This would actually be against FIFA rules.

    It'd be great if someone could clarify this for me.
     
  6. yellowbismark

    yellowbismark Member+

    Nov 7, 2000
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    Club Tijuana
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I was under the impression MLS rights held by teams on a player who left the league via free agency expire after 2 years.

    The Mexican gentlemen's agreement if I understand correctly, is indefinite until owners work out compensation with each other.
     
  7. LongDuckDong

    LongDuckDong Member+

    Jan 26, 2011
    Club:
    FC Schalke 04
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    All this means is that if he signs a contract with the league again, the league is contractually obligated to assign him to KC.
     
  8. parismatch

    parismatch Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    Mexico City
    Club:
    CD Chivas de Guadalajara
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    If this is so, then it means A LOT. In fact the whole point of the new transfer rules introduced in 2001 is to allow players to have freedom of movement between teams (as they would in any other industry), the only limitation being their contract with a particular team.
     
  9. LongDuckDong

    LongDuckDong Member+

    Jan 26, 2011
    Club:
    FC Schalke 04
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The do have free movement between teams. FIFA considers MLS to be "one team."

    A player that isn't under contract can sign with any team he wants. He cans sign with Porto, Santos Laguna, Munich, or MLS.
     
  10. ThreeApples

    ThreeApples Member+

    Jul 28, 1999
    Smurf Village
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No, they are indefinite, if the player was made an offer sufficient to avoid the Re-Entry Draft. See Rule III(C).

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/2012-mls-roster-rules
     
  11. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

    Mar 4, 2010
    Chicago
    Club:
    Chicago Red Stars
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    Think of it this way, what if Televisa owned all 18 FMF 1ra teams, then they could sing players to contracts for Televisa and tell them to play in what ever team they want.

    Is complicated, and FIFA only gets involved if someone complains, other wise they look the other way.

    I know that tv comentators talk about a rule where an owner can not control more than 1 team (Televisa, TVAzteca, MLSLLC) but I have never seen the rule.

    I think that it is a UEFA rule and not a FIFA rule.
     
  12. parismatch

    parismatch Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    Mexico City
    Club:
    CD Chivas de Guadalajara
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    This would still be against FIFA rules and, in effect, would be identical to Mexico's "Pacto de caballeros" (Mexican teams obviously cannot enforce such agreement outside FMF). The idea of the new transfer rules is that players should have freedom of movement both between and within leagues.
     
  13. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

    Mar 4, 2010
    Chicago
    Club:
    Chicago Red Stars
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No, is more like player transfers between Necaxa, America and San luis.
     
  14. parismatch

    parismatch Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    Mexico City
    Club:
    CD Chivas de Guadalajara
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    It is a FIFA rule not respected either in Mexico or the US.
     
  15. parismatch

    parismatch Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    Mexico City
    Club:
    CD Chivas de Guadalajara
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    Multiple ownership is also proscribed by FIFA rules.
     
  16. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

    Mar 4, 2010
    Chicago
    Club:
    Chicago Red Stars
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Do you have a link?

    Because that is the impression I am under, but I have not being able to find that rule.

    Like I said it is perhaps a UEFA rule and not a FIFA rule, but I am not sure.
     
  17. parismatch

    parismatch Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    Mexico City
    Club:
    CD Chivas de Guadalajara
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    I don't have a link to the actual rule (google was of no help), but I'm gonna keep looking for it. However, I did find a couple of references that make me believe the rule does, indeed, exist:

    1. A MARCA article, which at the end says: "La FIFA no permite la multipropiedad, pero cuando a Joseph Blatter le preguntaron fue claro: 'Mientras no exista una demanda, no hay delito que perseguir', afirmó el mandamás de la FIFA." (FIFA does not allow multiple ownership, but when Joseph Blatter was asked about it, he was clear: 'As long as there is no formal accusation, there is no crime to prosecute', said the leader of FIFA.)

    2. A bigsoccer blogpost by Paul Calixte, mentioning the proscription.

    3. A FIFA press release talking about measures to be taken against multiple ownership.
     
  18. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No, what you're not grasping is that in the FMF there are 18(?) different teams. From a legal perspective and FIFA's perspective there's only one team in MLS. What MLS does with its players once they sign is no different than Santos (for example) deciding to send a player to its reserve team instead of its first team.

    Players have the freedom to transfer to MLS, San Antonio, Santos Laguna, Bayern Munich, or the Melbourne Victory. Once they get to whichever team they choose the team has the right to assign them to whichever squad they want, in MLS that just happens to be 19 different squads in 18 different cities.
     
  19. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

    Mar 4, 2010
    Chicago
    Club:
    Chicago Red Stars
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    "In 2006, FIFPro and FIFA agreed that the following points merited “specific” treatment (art. 2.6 of the 2006 agreement):

    - Measures against the multiple ownership of clubs


    - Provisions for the protection of youth players


    - Protection of national teams by FIFA introducing, over several seasons, the 6+5 system regarding eligibility for national teams"



    Looks like it is not a rule but something that FIFA may want to introduce, like the 18 team limit, and the limit on foreign players.

    That is why Televisa, Azteca and MLS LLC will not get in trouble, at least not any time soon.
     
  20. parismatch

    parismatch Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    Mexico City
    Club:
    CD Chivas de Guadalajara
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    I "grasped" that since the first time you said it. What you don't seem to grasp is that: 1) FIFA forbids multiple ownership of teams, 2) Precisely this "cartelization" of the labor market by the league owners (in detriment of players) is what FIFA rules are trying to address.
     
  21. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

    Mar 4, 2010
    Chicago
    Club:
    Chicago Red Stars
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    The thing is that legally MLS LLC could claim that they are all 1 team, so there are no multiple ownership of teams, but 1 single team with say multiple division that play each other.

    Like Jasoma said

    Santos vs Santos reserves

    Santos U-20 vs Santos U-17.
     
  22. parismatch

    parismatch Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    Mexico City
    Club:
    CD Chivas de Guadalajara
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    I get that, yet I do think is against FIFA rules. Remember that FIFA doesn't care a bit about what the legal system is in any given country. Even if MLS is legally one entity, KC, Seattle, LA, are, in fact, different teams. And FIFA transfer rules are meant, among other things, to avoid the "monopsony" situation, where players (suppliers of labor) face only one buyer (MLS in this case).

    If what you describe were allowed by the transfer rules, all leagues would simply constitute one legal entity to contract all players through it and avoid the damned restriction altogether, don't you think?
     
  23. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Parismarch, you're confusing FIFA regulations and FIFA guidelines. The freedom of movement "rule" that you're talking about isn't a regulation, it is a guideline. This means it is voluntary for leagues to comply with it. It also includes an exception for local laws and for Collective Bargaining Agreements(CBA). In the case of MLS, the CBA sets that players sign with the league and not individual teams and that the league then assigns them to teams.
     
  24. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    FIFA has also reviewed and approved MLS's player retention rules.
     
  25. parismatch

    parismatch Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    Mexico City
    Club:
    CD Chivas de Guadalajara
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    Great, thanks for clarifying this. :)
     

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