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Trump administration cancels MLB-Cuba deal

09 Апреля 2019

This move comes as the Trump administration continues its crackdown of Obama-era policies aimed at improving USA relations with Cuba - although terms for the deal were developed and finalized on the Trump administration's watch.

In a statement, MLB vice president Michael Teevan said the league stands by the goal of the deal, "which is to end the human trafficking of baseball players from Cuba".

But the Trump administration said Monday that the payment was illegal because the federation was considered to be part of the Cuban government.

While such unsafe escapes were mostly eliminated with greater travel freedoms, players still needed to cut ties with Cuban baseball and often their families and hometowns, going years without returning after signing with the major leagues. "The politically motivated attacks on the deal hurt players, their families, and fans".

The senior Trump administration official suggested that the agreement would have subjected the players to "human trafficking" by the Cuban government, making them "pawns of the Cuba dictatorship".

National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said the administration canceled the deal because it considers the Cuban Baseball Federation an entity of the Cuban government, which is under economic sanctions by the United States.

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At the time, opponents of the Cuban government pledged to try to overturn it. Generally prohibited from departing the island to sign with MLB clubs, Cubans wishing to play in the affiliated ranks must defect, establish residency in another country, and then seek clearance from the league.

Under the agreement, Major League Baseball teams would need to pay the FCB for the contractual release of players who are 24 years old or younger and have five or fewer years of service. Others abandoned the Cuban national team while playing overseas.

From a hot stove perspective, the result is that a slate of worldwide players who had been anticipating near-term signings will now remain in Cuban - unless and until they elect to roll the dice on defecting.

That money, which was not to be deducted from the player's salary but be paid on top of it, would have been used to help Cuba further develop its baseball program.

The Cuban federation also agreed to release all players 25 and older with at least six years of professional experience to be classified as global professionals under MLB's labor contract with the players' association and not subject to worldwide amateur signing bonus pools. "Regime cut a deal with baseball to allow players to leave, but only if MLB pays them a ransom".

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Trump administration cancels MLB-Cuba deal