The Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB), the Major Leagues Baseball (MLB), with the consent of the Major Leagues Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) signed a historical agreement today that will allow the Cuban baseball players associated with the FCB, who play in the Cuban National Series and in the rest of the Cuban baseball tournaments system, to be signed by any of the 30 Clubs in the United States´ Major Leagues.
The agreement, materialized after three years of negotiations, guarantees a collaborating relationship, stable and not politicized, between MLB and FCB. In general terms, their legal clauses are similar to those established by the MLB with other foreign leagues such as Japan´s Professional Baseball League (NPB), Korea´s Baseball Organization (KBO), and Chinese Taipei´s Professional Baseball League (CPBL). It also represents a legal conduct adjusted to the international practice for Cuban athletes to play without discrimination, in equal terms, in the MLB, without being compelled to break their ties of any kind with their country.
With a practical application starting from its signing on December 19th, 2018, the agreement states that Cuban players will be able to play in the American professional Leagues without losing their residency in Cuba or their link to Cuban baseball. Under the agreement, the FCB must release all their affiliated players with at least 25 years of age and 6 or more years of experience in the National Series. The FCB will receive from any MLB Club a payment of a “Release Fee”, completely independent of the contract they sign with the player. Additionally, the FCB could release players who do not meet these requirements; they will be signed as amateurs in the Major Leagues instead.
The contract also applies for Cuban players that have migrated to third countries with the purpose of trying to reach the Major League sand that for several reasons haven´t achieved it, they will be able to be reinserted in the Cuban national competitive system.
This agreement will rule the relationship between the FCB, the MLB, and the Cuban players, starting from the moment the accord is signed. Like all agreements, it does not imply a retroactive recognition of prior circumstances. It would exclusively apply to the relationship established between these parties, effective from the moment the agreement is signed.
The contract will contribute to stopping illegal activities like human trafficking that for years have put the physical integrity and life of many talented young Cuban baseball players at risk.
The agreement is an acknowledgement of Cuban sports, mainly of the quality of the development of the Cuban baseball system, which aside many obstacles, is still producing talented and passionate baseball players.
The agreement is part of the effort to continue strengthening the practice, enjoyment, and development of the national sport. This contract will have a positive impact for many athletes of the country, for the national teams, and for the FCB.
Cuban Baseball Federation