The top domestic baseball league decided Tuesday to abolish the salary cap imposed on foreign players, a move that followed a series of controversial signings of late.
The presidents of teams in the Korea Baseball Organization agreed to get rid of the $300,000 salary cap in their board meeting.
The KBO clubs have increasingly faced allegations that they hadn’t been honoring the salary cap and that they were paying their foreign players more money under the table, bringing into question the effectiveness of the rule.
Some team officials have even admitted that not abiding by the cap was “the worst kept secret in the KBO.”
The KBO first opened its doors to foreign players in 1998, with their initial salary ceiling set at $120,000. The figure was raised to $200,000 in 1999 and then to $300,000 in 2004.
Previously, foreign players’ salaries couldn’t be raised by more than 25 percent when they re-signed, but the KBO also removed that restriction on Tuesday.
League officials have said they put the cap in place to maintain competitive balance and prevent wealthier clubs from signing expensive stars, and also to avoid excessive salary inflation.
In recent seasons, players with substantial U.S. major or minor league experiences have joined the KBO. In some cases, foreign newspapers or beat writers of the players’ former major or minor league teams disclosed the new signees’ salary figures that easily exceeded the cap. (Yonhap News)