Inter Miami faces sanctions after violating roster guidelines

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Major League Soccer announced sanctions against Inter Miami CF after an investigation into the team’s signing of Blaise Matuidi revealed roster and salary violations.

The club is facing a $2m fine and a $2,271,500 reduction in allocation money for 2022 and 2023.

Additionally, the league is charging Inter Miami owner Jorge Mas a $250,000 fee and suspended former Miami sporting director and chief operating officer Paul McDonough from conducting any MLS-related activity through the 2022 season. 

Paul McDonough served as vice president of soccer operations at Atlanta United, but the two have parted ways following Major League Soccer’s announcement.

“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 probe initially began as a result of Matuidi’s arrival to Inter Miami, after finding his $1.6125m salary suspicious. Though the team originally named Matuidi a Targeted Allocation Money player, he should have been classified under the Designated Player spot. At the time, Inter Miami could not correctly place him under the DP spot, having three other players filling those roster positions already. 

In April, the league revealed their investigation found Inter Miami violated standards by signing four athletes under the Designated Player spots on its 2020 roster, instead of the allowed three. Miami also incorrectly categorized Andrés Reyes, who should have also occupied the DP slot. 

Reyes is no longer with the team and currently a player for the New York Red Bulls. 

Phil Neville, Jorge MasPhil Neville, Jorge Mas
Inter Miami CF head coach Phil Neville talks with club owner Jorge Mas | Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Beyond roster violations, the club also failed to disclose agreements that resulted in incorrect salary budget amounts for Leandro González Pirez, Nicolás Figal and Julián Carranza.

None of the Inter Miami’s players were the subject of the investigation or committed any violation according to MLS, and their contracts with the league remain intact.

MLS also made sure to state that their investigation found no wrongdoing on part of other Inter Miami owners Marcelo Claure, Masayoshi Son, Jose Mas and David Beckham.

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