The man who poked the first hole in MLS's stringent salary cap is now aiming to destroy it completely. In 2007, David Beckham became the league's first designated player — a signing that doesn't count against the paltry $3.1 million cap and dwarfs the modest earnings of that player's teammates (the league minimum is just $36,500). Now, as he prepares to launch his own club in Miami, Beckham has told Christian Vieri (yes, that Christian Vieri) in an interview for beIN Sports that he wants to bring an end to the league's financial restrictions.
"That's what we'll work for," Beckham said after Vieri suggested the cap needed to be taken away. "We'll work towards that, because obviously that's one of the things that honestly stops a lot of players coming over here."
Of course, MLS will likely respond to this by saying, "Hahaha whatever you say, David." But the league has stated its goal is to be considered among the world's best by 2022, which would require more than just steady, measured growth. MLS has resisted calls for an end to the salary cap, which none of the world's top leagues have, or at least a massive increase to it out of fear of crashing and burning like the old NASL did after spending big to acquire an astounding collection of superstars. The NASL tried to implement a salary cap and reduce roster sizes in its final years, but by then it was already too late. It folded in 1985 after 17 seasons of play. MLS is now in its 18th season.
Though the cap has helped MLS ensure financial responsibility and parity within the league, it has been a handicap in international competitions and, as Beckham says, in attracting a larger numbers of top quality players. But with Beckham, who added that he hopes his own team will begin playing in 2017, and Man City owned NYCFC joining Toronto FC (who spent $90 million on designated players Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe this offseason, to the dismay of other MLS executives), the number of clubs pushing the league to take a greater financial risk in order to hopefully reap greater rewards will soon grow. And if that happens, Beckham might start to wish he didn't give his PSG salary to charity after all.
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