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SBD Global/September 30, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Cuba Announces It Will Allow Athletes To Sign Professional Contracts In Foreign Leagues
Published September 30, 2013
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'VERY BIG IMPACT': In N.Y., Randal Archibold reported the news is "raising the prospect of a flood of new talent around the world," but possibly not much in the U.S. Cuba has long sought to "keep its athletes at home in quasi-amateur leagues, usually prohibiting them from cashing in on multimillion-dollar contracts abroad." The rule change follows a "general loosening of immigration restrictions, even allowing Cubans critical of the government to travel overseas." Analysts said that the move "was devised more to cash in on contracts in Mexico, Japan, South Korea and other countries that have more normal ties with Cuba." In Cuba, "there was a lot of talk that it would expand options for players." Most "live on state wages that pay $20 a month." Cuban baseball writer Sigfredo Barros said that overall the rule change "will have a very big impact, very positive" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/27).
U.S. POLICY NOT CHANGING: U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control spokesperson John Sullivan said, "Our policy has not changed. Cuban players need to be unblocked by a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control in order to play for the MLB. In order to qualify, the players must prove that they have permanent residency outside of Cuba" (AP, 9/27).