Sports

Trump cancels Major League Baseball's deal to sign Cuban players

Trump cancels Major League Baseball's deal to sign Cuban players

The landmark deal was struck during the Barack Obama presidency with an attempt to soften relations between the US and Cuba, according to ESPN.

"He's never tried to own a team (as far as we know), has yet to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game, and on Monday, he rescinded an agreement between the USA and Cuba that allowed Cuban ball players (sic) to join the MLB without having to undergo the risky process of defecting from their home country", Splinter News reports.

The announcement came just days after the Cuban federation released its first list of 34 players authorized to sign contracts directly with major league teams.

First negotiated by the Obama administration, the agreement was meant to prevent Cuban players from undertaking risky escapes from Cuba, and from having to give up their citizenship to play in the United States. The players were eligible for signing bonuses, with the player receiving 100 percent of his signing bonus and the club giving the Cuban federation a release fee equivalent to 25 percent of the signing bonus. "Regime cut a deal with baseball to allow players to leave, but only if MLB pays them a ransom".

According to the Post, a Trump administration official said that the payments were equal to "human trafficking" by the Cuban government.

"The U.S. does not support actions that would institutionalize a system by which a Cuban government entity garnishes the wages of hard-working athletes who simply seek to live and compete in a free society", National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said in a statement.

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"The agreement with #MLB seeks to stop the trafficking of human beings, encourage cooperation and raise the level of baseball", the Cuban Baseball Federation said on Twitter.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who was opposed to the Major League Baseball deal, said it legalized the trafficking of the players.

The expiration of the deal will force the Cuban athletes to sever ties with their national program, the Cuban Baseball Federation, before signing with the MLB. It's definitely hard for a lot of Cuban players who are not playing at this level here in the States. The decision made public Monday afternoon appears to make the MLB-Cuba deal unworkable by eliminating the payment mechanism, similar to one MLB has with leagues in China, Korea and Japan.

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the Major League Baseball sent a letter to the Treasury and State Departments, outlining the objective of its agreement.

'To know future Cuban players will not have to go through what we went through makes me so happy, ' he said in the statement. Others abandoned the Cuban national team while playing overseas. "But the way we got here, it was tough - to say the least". An earlier try in 2008 was foiled, and Chapman was kept off Cuba's team in the 2008 Olympics. It's definitely hard for a lot of Cuban players who are not playing at this level here in the States.

On Friday, the Trump administration blocked the agreement from materializing. "The biggest impact is going to be the guys who are back in Cuba".