The ‘David Beckham Rule’ that makes Victor Wanyama highest earner at CF Montreal

CF Montreal midfielder Victor Wanyama (2) celebrates the victory during the Audi 2022 MLS, Fussball Herren, USA Cup Playoffs match between Orlando City SC and CF Montreal held at Saputo Stadium in Montreal on October 16, 2022.

The ‘David Beckham Rule’ that makes Victor Wanyama highest earner at CF Montreal

Joel Omotto 10:00 - 22.05.2024

Victor Wanyama has been revealed to be the highest paid player at MLS side CF Montreal but this would not have been possible were it not for a rule named after David Beckham.

Victor Wanyama is the highest paid player at MLS club CF Montreal, going by data released by the MLS Players Association recently, and this is thanks to a rule initiated by David Beckham.

The midfielder’s 2024 salary stands at $1.8 million (Ksh236,700,001), which is his annual guaranteed compensation, with his basic salary currently standing at $1.44 million (Ksh189,360,000).

Wanyama’s salary is $500,000 (Ksh65,750,000) more than the second highest earner at Montreal, being Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez, who takes home $1.3 million (Ksh172,145,467) both in basic salary and annual guaranteed compensation, after signing a one-year deal when he joined the Canadian side at the start of the current campaign.

Uruguayan striker Matias Coccaro is the third highest earner at Montreal with a basic annual salary of $800,000 (Ksh105,200,000) which goes up to $888,000 (Ksh116,772,000) in annual guaranteed compensation.

Wanyama has not enjoyed regular playing time for close to a year now at Montreal but his salary is down to the fact that he is Montreal’s Designated Player.

In the MLS, clubs are given only three Designated Players whose wages are allowed to be greater than the league average.

Wanyama has been the club’s Designated Player since he joined as a free agent from Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur in March 2020, initially on an annual salary of $3 million (Ksh406,554,212), before he took a massive pay cut while negotiating his current deal that was signed in January 2023.

The Designated Player Rule in MLS was implemented alongside the salary cap regulations ahead of the 2007 season in anticipation of the arrival of former Real Madrid and England star David Beckham at LA Galaxy that summer.

Beckham was the first high-profile and internationally recognised player to sign for an MLS side and the Designated Player Rule has since been unofficially dubbed the 'Beckham Rule'

Since then, big-name players have moved Stateside with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard and now Lionel Messi, who is the highest earner in the MLS presently on $20.45 million per year, as one of the Designated Players at Inter Miami.

The rule allows each club participating in MLS to sign up to three players who will not be considered under the team's salary cap (either through wages or the transfer fee), which enables MLS sides to sign and compete for high-profile players from the wider overseas international market.

MLS player salaries are limited by a salary cap that has been in place since the league's inception in 1996, which was introduced to prohibit team owners from excessive spending on player salaries and to ensure a fairer balance among teams who weren't as financially well-off.

It is therefore the rule that allowed Wanyama to negotiate a bigger salary at Montreal and it has served him well as he is still enjoying the big bucks even though his minutes have greatly reduced.

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