NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball says its players will be banned from participating in the Venezuelan Winter League because of recent U.S. economic sanctions against Venezuela.

MLB said Thursday in a statement that it has been "in contact with the relevant government agencies" about how to proceed under the sanctions. For now, MLB says it will suspend its involvement in the league, one of many leagues that big league players use for offseason development, until it gets permission from the federal government for players to participate.

"MLB will fully adhere to the policies implemented by our government," the statement said. "With respect to the Venezuelan Winter League, MLB will suspend its involvement in that league until it receives direction from the relevant agencies that participation by affiliated players is consistent with the Executive Order."

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump's administration issued a broad ban blocking companies and individuals from doing business with the socialist administration of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro and its top supporters. The executive order put the country on a short list of U.S. adversaries, including Cuba, North Korea and Iran, that have been targeted by such aggressive financial measures.

The Wall Street Journal reported that MLB's decision also applies to minor league players , but it won't prevent Venezuelan players from returning home during the offseason.


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