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Garber addresses Beckham salary cap hit

David Beckham ( 

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MLS commissioner Don Garber addressed concerns over more perceived preferential treatment by MLS for the Los Angeles Galaxy, specifically the fact that LA will only have half of Beckham's salary cap hit counting against the Galaxy's salary cap in 2009.

Speaking to SBI on Sunday, Garber stated that the decision to only have Beckham count for $200,000 against the Galaxy's salary cap is in keeping with league policies. In this case, the Galaxy will not have Beckham on its roster, nor will the Galaxy be paying Beckham's salary, before he returns in July.

“His salary is being paid by Milan,” Garber said. “The issue with salary budgets in all leagues is who is paying the salary.

“The LA Galaxy are not paying David Beckham until he arrives in July.”

When asked how this situation differed from the case of Claudio Reyna, who retired mid-way through the 2008 season but still counted for the full $400,000 Designated Player salary cap slot for the season, Garber pulled no punches.

“That’s different. He started in the beginning and retired at the end,” Garber said of Reyna's case. “The rule is, and we’ve had this for many years, is you don’t get charged until you have the player. In the Red Bulls case, they had the player and then he left.”

“The difference is when you have a player who’s on your roster and then leaves, you suffer the consequences of making a bad decision,” Garber said. “That’s the way it should be. You’ve got to be responsible for the financial decisions you make. But if you don’t have a player on your roster until he arrives at a particular date you shouldn’t have to pay for him and we have particular windows and roster dates that accommodate for that.”

What do you think of Garber's explanation? Does it make sense of the league's decision? Still think the Galaxy is getting preferential treatment? Think the league should change its rules?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I think I understand what Garber is trying to stay… and its sound like a contrive load of BS. I’m just wondering if Garber understands the implied precident he is creating. His explanation would seem to create a loophole that would enable any team to circumvent the salary cap by signing a high priced player(s) and then loaning the player(s)to a team in another league for the part of season. Practically speaking this is relativley unlikely scenario but it would seem that this decision does make it technically possible. In theory a team could potentionally sign a 2 or 3 ‘ringers’ that would be loaned out for most of the season, only returning to their home club just prior to the roster freeze late in the MLS season to minimize the cap space they occupy.

  2. Steve, all I was trying to say is that there are other ways besides a salary cap. I don’t like the EPL, Seria A and La Liga since most of the top clubs financed their player acquisitions with debt–an unsustainable way.

  3. Hey, simple solution for those who have a problem with the way things are currently run. Do away with the salary cap and let the teams sign whom they want and for what they want. Think the outcry will be louder or go away?

  4. Frank – Probably Bayern Munich. So pretty much yes. Germany is the most ‘wide open’ of the big leagues in Europe (if they still qualify these days) and it would still be pretty simple to predict that no more than 5 of 18 teams have a shot(even Hoffenheim which is a consequence of exceptional circumstance is falling off the pace).

    I’ll take ManU, Chelsea, Liverpool, Inter, Milan, Juventus, Madrid and Barca next year and give you the rest of the those three leagues. If I were to say you only have to win one league title how much would you be willing to bet against me?

    On the other hand if I took Columbus and Chicago (smaller league so I’m only taking two) and gave you the field. How would you feel about that?

  5. Poor Nick, being on the playing day roster and being under contract are two different things. Becks is under contract with LA and his guarantee pay is $5,000,000 which exceeds the MLS salary cap for a player. This means that Beck’s is a DP, you don’t get credit if he is hurt or just doesn’t play he is under contract and that is what matters.

  6. I think the fact that Landycakes will once again be grandfathered and not counted as a DP is the real rip off. Both Beckham and Landycakes make above the league limit on salary and both should count as DP’s.

    Is garber saying that incoming players on loans shouldn’t count against the cap? They are still under contract with their owning team? All you have to do is look at the fact that even a half season Beckham will get 2.5 million which is clearly over the leagues salary cap limit and the team should be responsible for using it’s DP slot. This is all being done so that LA can go out and get yet another DP. Once again the league makes up the rules based on what AEG wants.

    No other team is allowed to flaunt the rules as much as LA, but if you look at the total salary of TFC you will see they are a close second. Another example of the league favoring teams, by bending the rules. Funny thing is it never works the way they intend.

  7. Steve, who is going to win the Bundesliga this year? Is it really that predictable? Don’t get upset just because some clubs are well-managed and favorites at the start of every season.

    I do favor fiscally responsible decisions. There is no way Man City is going to recoup their proposed 100 million (whatever currency) tranfer fees in addition to their ridiculous salaries. I don’t think the current MLS salary cap structure works too well and I’m sure it will be revised throughout the years. But there is a reason other leagues around the world are looking at the possibility of implementing one.

  8. The leaving mid-season cap rule seems consistent. Like with Mathis, when Xavier Abel left the Galaxy last year we couldn’t open up that cap space. So at least that part does not seem biased.

  9. “But Rudy, LAG has basically had an unlimited salary cap. What with Ruiz and Donovan being grandfathered plus Beckham, LAG’s salary on the roster (if you eliminate the stuff that didn’t count as on the cap) was in some case 7-8X that of some other MLS opponents.”

    Yes, but how many other teams had 3x$400,000 eating up their payroll and roster depth? It was a stupid decision that didn’t work to the Galaxy’s advantage. I would actually call it a disadvantage to have three DPs on your squad. It leaves no cap space for other good players.

  10. kpugs:
    Some anger management therapy might really help out there little buddy.

    Garber’s point that RBNY had the player and then he left seems to apply to the Beckham situation perfectly, does it not? LA had him, he left (on loan), and not is coming back. This is not a new player coming to LA for the first time, or even someone who was traded away/sold/whatever. This is a player who is on their books and should thus be held accountable as such. RBNY fans have every right to complain, as do all of the other teams’ fans in this league. I hope they don’t though, because it is annoying.

  11. Steve, you are spot on. Most of the people here are so anxious to spew their hatred and jealousy (and quite honestly, their stupidity), that they don’t even recognize common sense. And while I do think it makes sense to amend the rules that if a player retires his cap hit should come off the books, Garber’s explanation makes perfect sense.

  12. Fast forward 5 years…..

    The Galaxy are the favorites to win their third straight MLS Cup and have been virtually unassailable since dissolution of the salary cap in 2011 and Phil Anschutz was able to outspend other owners and purchase players at will.

    A quick search on SBI, now the prime website for all things soccer and second only to in North American sports in general, and at the bottom of an article on the lack of competition in MLS by Steve Goff (oh, yeah, he’s working for Ives now) you find a general cry to bring back the cap from whiny MLS fans. Who now belatedly realize that the granting of their previous wishes made the league boring and uncompetitive just like every major European league (and MLB the only league in the US without a cap) where everyone knows who will win before the start of the season.

    (And MLS teams still can’t win in Mexico)



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