Cuba to Allow Players to Play in Foreign Leagues

Cuba has given permission to their professional baseball players that they will now be allowed to play in foreign professional leagues.  For major league fans start scouring the Cuban professional rosters to find the best players there are conditions for this participation.  Major league teams schedule and current United States law would still prevent Cuba professionals from playing in the United States.

What are some of the conditions?  The main one is that Cuban players must still committ to play in the Nacional Series.  That league runs from November to April.  This would prevent major league teams from having Cuban players participate in spring training and if their team makes the playoffs miss the first part of the season.  Cuba would have to reallign their season to accomodate the major league’s professional season.  Most foreign leagues begin their seasons in April, except for the winter leagues which run concurrently with the Cuban professional league.

Another big obstacle would be that the Cuban player would have to pay taxes to Cuba on any salary they earn from these foreign professional leagues.  This would require them to continue their Cuban residency.  One of the requirements for Cubans to participate in the major leagues is a requirement that they establish foreign or United States residency.  The Foreign Assets Control (FAC) wants to ensure that no remuneration for their participation in professional sports is sent back to Cuba to assist the Cuban economy financially, a violation of the trading with the enemies act.  A major league club that allows salary to be sent back to Cuba as taxes would be in violation of the United States law.  The major league teams can always petetion to the FAC to exempt them from this requirement like the WBC and Olympics do when they hold events that consist of Cuban athletes, but those are one time events that occur every four years.  The FAC would be unlikely to approve a working relationship to occur that brings back millions of dollars to Cuba.

The Cubans still have an opportunity to play in professional leagues in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Mexico and Europe.  Cuban ballplayers only get about $20 per game.  Even playing in the European Leagues may give them greater compensation.  Based on the article below Cuban athletes will see an increase in that payment, as well as an extra $41 payment if a player is a league leader in a significant category.  Players who win a championship will split $2,700.  When you compare that to the six figure payments given to major leaguers for winning their championships you can see why most Cubans want to play in the United States.

You can read an article about the policy change here: http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/cuba-to-allow-athletes-to-compete-in-foreign-leagues-092713

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