MLS has publicly claimed that it can’t change its domestic-player because of labour-law issues in the U.S. Over the next couple of weeks, The 11 will try and steer its readers through labour law, and understand why an American CAN be a domestic player in Canada, but why a Canadian player CAN’T be considered a domestic in the United States.
There have been rising cries from Canadian MLS followers about the roster rules, which require the three Canadian teams to carry domestics outside of the eight designated international slots per team roster. Under MLS rules, those domestics who can be Canadian OR American. (Of those, a Canadian team must carry a minimum of three Canadian citizens or permanent residents). But, in the U.S., a Canadian takes up one of the international slots, and cannot be a domestic.
In a halftime interview during the March 2 First Kick match that saw Toronto FC lose to the Vancouver Whitecaps, MLS Commissioner Don Garber responded to commentator Jason DeVos’s question about the domestic distinctions between the two countries. Why can’t Canadians be “domestic” in the U.S.? Garber’s answer:
“…in the United States, if you are considered an international from a labour perspective, you can’t discriminate between one nationality and another. So we would have a challenge if a Colombian player believed that they were treated differently than a Canadian player.”
Fair enough. And you can’t find anything in the P-1, O-1 or H2B U.S. work visa applications that specifically mention Canadians. But this begs another question — if it’s considered discriminatory for Americans to single out Canadians for preferential treatment, why is it NOT discriminatory for Canadian teams to give that same preferential treatment to Americans?
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