Wednesday, November 05, 2008

David Beckham Has Galaxy Escape Clause

Grant Wahl is reporting that David Beckham doesn't really have a five year contract with the MLS, what he has is a three year guaranteed deal and an option for two more. In essence, Beckham has an escape clause that HE controls. As Wahl writes:
But Beckham can opt out of the last two years if he so desires, according to a previously undisclosed clause in his contract.

And that is news. Big news.

That Beckham holds that option is an important distinction, one that has never been acknowledged publicly by MLS, the Galaxy or Beckham's reps -- all of which refused to comment to regarding Beckham's contract. (In MLS contracts, which are owned by the single-entity league instead of the individual teams, the league usually controls the option years, not the players.)
Wahl doesn't say if there are conditions on Beckham's ability to exercise his option, but you can bet that if the Galaxy have another disasterous year in 2009 with Beckham in the side, he won't be back in 2010.

Beckham's desire to be in teh England squad for 2010 World Cup is no secret and barring a mircale resurgence, the Galaxy may very well not make the playoffs again.

What is interesting is that this deal between Beckham and the MLS is very Beckham friendly. Now, I don't begrudge Beckham or his lawyers who negotiated this deal, that is just smart deal making for them. But the MLS got stars in its eyes and handed Beckham an out.

There is no doubt that the MLS would sell Beckham if the price is right at any point, particularly if Beckham wanted to go. But there is a different market price for Beckham if he has one year or only player controlled option years on his contract versus two years left or league controlled options. In short, if Beckham had two years left on his contract, the transfer fee would have to be somewhere north of $12 to $15 million. But with only player controlled option years, that transfer fee could be as little as zero. That is a huge mistake by the MLS.

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