David Beckham’s Inter Miami have been fined a record $ 2million (£ 1.4million) for breaking Major League Soccer (MLS) rules.
An investigation was opened last year into the signing of French midfielder Blaise Matuidi from Juventus in 2020.
MLS ruled last month that Inter Miami had broken the rules and announced their sanction on Friday.
MLS said Matuidi was paid more than was allowed, effectively giving the team four “designated players” last season rather than the three allowed.
The salaries of designated players do not count towards the MLS salary cap.
Known as the ‘Beckham Rule’, it was introduced when the former England captain joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007.
World Cup winner Matuidi, 34, had been wrongly classified, as was former team defender Colombian Andres Reyes, according to the investigation.
“The violations also included undisclosed agreements which resulted in the underreporting of salary budget amounts for players Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Nicolas Figal and Julian Carranzay,” MLS said.
The franchise has also received a reduction of $ 2,271,250 (£ 1.6million) on the amount it can spend on players for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, with managing owner Jorge Mas fined $ 250,000 (£ 176,000) and former general manager and sporting director Paul McDonough suspended until the end of the 2022 season.
MLS said no player had committed an offense and had not been investigated.
The fine is the highest in league history and MLS commissioner Don Garber said, “These penalties reflect the seriousness of Inter Miami’s violations. “
“We have worked closely with MLS to resolve these issues and have made significant changes to our management structure,” Mas said.
Inter Miami are led by former England women’s coach and Beckham’s former Manchester United team-mate Phil Neville.