The North American Soccer League (MLS) announced on Friday a $ 2 million fine against Inter Miami, a team co-owned by David Beckham, for irregularities in the signing of French midfielder Blaise Matuidi last year.
The team's managing owner Jorge Mas was also fined $ 250,000 and former sports director Paul McDonough was suspended until the end of the 2022 season, the league said in a statement.
The MLS opened an investigation in March into the hiring of Matuidi, the 2018 World Cup champion with France, and in April confirmed that sanctions would be applied to Inter. The league determined that the remuneration of Matuidi, who arrived free in August after ending his contract with Juventus, exceeded the limits of the player category assigned to him, so he had to occupy one of the three Franchise Player positions he has each team.
In the case of Inter, last year the team had the Argentine Matías Pellegrini and the Mexican Rodolfo Pizarro as Franchise Players and, after the signing of Matuidi, they signed the Argentine Gonzalo Higuaín.
In Friday's statement, the MLS said that Inter should have also nominated Colombian defender Andrés Reyes (currently in the New York Red Bulls) as a Franchise Player, so it had five players who should have that category.
"None of the Inter Miami players were investigated, committed any infractions or knew of the infractions. Their current contracts with MLS remain in full force and effect," the league stressed.
David Beckham, without penalty or fine
The MLS held the managing owner, Jorge Mas, responsible for irregularities and exonerated the rest of the club's owners, including David Beckham.
"Ultimately, (Mas) was responsible for making sure Inter Miami had sufficient controls and protocols to ensure compliance with MLS rules," he noted. "The investigation found no irregularities by the owners Marcelo Claure, Masayoshi Son and David Beckham."