Major League Soccer on Friday announced sanctions against Inter Miami CF resulting from an investigation launched into the August 2020 signing of Blaise Matuidi.
The full statement follows below:
Major League Soccer today announced sanctions for Inter Miami CF violating MLS’ salary budget and roster guidelines during the 2020 season. The violations included the incorrect roster categorization for players Blaise Matuidi and Andrés Reyes who should have occupied a Designated Player slot. The violations also included undisclosed agreements that resulted in the underreporting of salary budget amounts for players Leandro González Pirez, Nicolás Figal and Julián Carranza.
The penalties include a $2 million fine to the club and a $250,000 fine to Managing Owner Jorge Mas. In addition, Paul McDonough, Inter Miami’s COO and Sporting Director at the time of the infractions, has been suspended through the end of the 2022 MLS season. MLS also imposed a reduction of $2,271,250 in allocation dollars for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
None of Inter Miami’s players were the subject of the investigation, committed any violation, nor were aware of the violations. Their current contracts with MLS remain in full force and effect.
“The integrity of our rules is sacrosanct, and it is a fundamental principle of our league that our clubs are responsible for adhering to all league regulations,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “Our rules will not be compromised. These sanctions reflect the severity of Inter Miami’s violations, should encourage complete cooperation by all parties in future investigations, and will serve as a deterrent for clubs from violating roster rules.”
The comprehensive investigation by Major League Soccer included interviews with Inter Miami staff and ownership and a review of more than 1,400 pages of documents. Based on the investigation’s findings, Commissioner Garber has imposed the following discipline: _
- The Inter Miami CF organization is fined $2 million. _
- Inter Miami’s allocation dollars for 2022 and 2023 were reduced by $2,271,250. _
- Former Inter Miami CF Chief Operating Officer and Sporting Director Paul McDonough is suspended from any MLS-related activity for the remainder of the 2021 MLS season and through the entire 2022 season, effective immediately. McDonough may petition the Office of the Commissioner on or after March 1, 2022 for a review of this suspension period. _
- Managing Owner Jorge Mas is fined $250,000. As managing owner of Inter Miami, Mas approved all player-related agreements and transactions. He was ultimately responsible for making sure Inter Miami had sufficient controls and protocols in place to ensure compliance with MLS rules. While Mas was cooperative with the league’s investigation and importantly, alerted league investigators to critical information regarding undisclosed player-related agreements, investigators found that he failed to disclose his knowledge of the Matuidi violation at the appropriate time required under MLS rules.
The investigation found no wrongdoing on the part of Inter Miami owners Marcelo Claure, Masayoshi Son, Jose Mas, and David Beckham.
Prior to the issuance of sanctions, Inter Miami, under the leadership of Jorge Mas, has undertaken significant, proactive reform efforts to ensure the club is fully compliant with MLS rules going forward. Inter Miami is required to present its full compliance protocol to the league office on or before May 31, 2021.
Following the announcement of the sanctions, Inter Miami CF managing owner Jorge Mas issued the following statement:
Inter Miami CF acknowledges that the Club violated Major League Soccer’s roster rules in our first season.
We have worked closely with MLS to address these issues and have made significant changes in our management structure. Following our inaugural season, we took a deep look at our soccer operations leadership group and made decisions that not only strengthened our internal roster compliance measures, but also better positioned us to build a sustainable, long-term competition strategy with the hiring of Chris Henderson as Chief Soccer Officer and Sporting Director in 2021.
Inter Miami is an ambitious Club with big aspirations. We believe our fanbase, market and ownership group propel us to be one of North America’s most-followed fútbol teams in the world. We are committed to supporting our team and building a roster we are proud of.