Major League Baseball, its players’ association and the Cuban Baseball Federation reached an agreement that will allow players from the island to sign big league contracts without defecting, an effort to eliminate the dangerous trafficking that had gone on for decades.
The agreement, which runs through Oct. 31, 2021, allows Cubans to sign under rules similar to those for players under contract to clubs in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.nike nfl jerseys cheap china
“For years, Major League Baseball has been seeking to end the trafficking of baseball players from Cuba by criminal organizations by creating a safe and legal alternative for those players to sign with major league clubs,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement Wednesday. “We believe that this agreement accomplishes that objective and will allow the next generation of Cuban players to pursue their dream without enduring many of the hardships experienced by current and former Cuban players who have played Major League Baseball.”
Depending on the quality of future players, the agreement could mean millions of dollars in future income for the cash-poor Cuban federation, which has seen the quality of players and facilities decline in recent years as talent went overseas.
The agreement marks a step forward in U.S.-Cuba relations during a time of tensions between Cuba and the Trump administration, which has pledged to undo President Barack Obama’s 2014 opening with the island.
MLB said the deal was allowed by amendments to the Cuban Asset Control Regulations of March 16, 2016, that established the provisions of a general license from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The league said OFAC confirmed to Major League Baseball in a letter dated Sept. 20, 2016, that an agreement with the Cuban federation would be valid.nfl nike jerseys cheap china
“Baseball has always been a bridge between our two nations, facilitating people-to-people connections and larger agreements that have brought our countries closer together,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.