Cuba lets athletes compete in foreign leagues; players must honor commitments to national squads

HAVANA - Cuba says island athletes will be allowed to sign contracts to compete in foreign leagues, a shift from decades of policy that held professional sports to be anathema to socialist ideals.

Communist Party newspaper Granma reports that the decision was approved at a recent session of the Council of Ministers, which is headed by President Raul Castro.

Athletes will still be asked to fulfill their commitments to national squads. Granma says they will have to be in Cuba "for the fundamental competitions of the year."

The announcement was made Friday.

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