Major League Soccer executive vice president of player relations & competition Todd Durbin released the following statement on Saturday in light of the recent MLS return of Clint Dempsey.
"I know there have been some questions in the media regarding MLS' allocation process," the statement reads. "I'd like to start by providing some detail on the relevant player rules. More detailed information is on our website.
"Players come to MLS in a variety of ways, including through the SuperDraft, or when clubs 'discover' players. The vast majority of 'discovered' players tend to be playing overseas and occupy international player roster slots.
"The allocation process is a ranking order similar to a draft order for those players who come to MLS outside the MLS Super Draft, who are not 'discovered' or who are not Designated Players. Generally, similar to the Draft order, the allocation order is based on a ranking of the previous year's performance. The most recent example of a player joining MLS through the allocation process was the signing of Carlos Bocanegra by Chivas USA. Toronto FC was first on the allocation ranking order and therefore Chivas had to make a trade with Toronto to acquire his rights.
"When MLS clubs try to retain a player on their roster but he opts to sign abroad, the club that loses the player retains the right to re-sign him should he return. At times, the club holding this right can trade it to another team. A recent example is Robbie Rogers, who Columbus attempted to sign before he left MLS and signed overseas. When Robbie returned, Columbus had a right of first refusal to sign him in preference of other MLS clubs. That right was traded to Chicago, who in turn traded it to LA in exchange for Mike Magee.
"For new players signed by an MLS club as a Designated Player, the allocation process does not apply. Examples of this include previous high profile player signings like David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane and US national team player Claudio Reyna when he signed with New York."