Single Entity Structure: The MLS and The Power of the League

Single Entity Structure: The MLS and The Power of the League
Global superstars who decide to join the MLS often do so with an element of choice towards where they will play - cities such as Los Angeles and New York perpetually attract the biggest names in the sport. This article aims to shine a light on the rest of the players in the MLS, whose ability to choose which club they play for is undermined by the fact that they are employed by the league itself. As long as the MLS operates under a Single Entity structure, the players solely rely on the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Players Union and the League to ensure that their right to freedom of movement is advocated for and respected.

Major League Soccer (MLS) is a single entity structure; the league is the sole body that oversees each club. Investors are able to ‘purchase a club’, meaning they can purchase the rights to operate a team within the MLS. One of the most recent expansion clubs - who are not scheduled to begin play until the 2020 season - are already being referred to as ‘David Beckham’s Inter Miami FC’. By virtue of the single entity structure, when signing players for their team, investors must abide by the spending regulations that the MLS has put in place.

Essentially, the single entity structure means that players first sign a contract with the MLS, and the MLS then assigns the available players to each club based on specific distribution guidelines, at which time the team can obtain the player. Teams can trade these rights to any other team at any time,...

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